Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Taking Orders From Machinery?


"This area is RESTRICTED!"

It appears that in England we have a new wrinkle on closed-circuit TV surveillance--a camera that barks a warning:

"YOU HAVE ENTERED A RESTRICTED AREA. LEAVE NOW OR THIS IMAGE WILL BE SENT FOR PROCESSING!"

....in an American voice, no less, which must annoy the Brits to no end.



Now (not that I would ever advocate anything illegal, mind you) there ARE ways to deal with surveillance cameras.

(However, the time has not come for that kind of civil disobedience.)

(Yet.)

But.

This is one example where arguments for human dignity may ring true even for the most fanatical of materialists, as nobody wants to take orders from ironmongery.

Reminds me off the time....

Back before I was married I spent a year living in a high rise singles apartment building in Falls Church, at I-66 and Route 7, which we called "Yuppie Towers." Lived on the 14th floor, which is the floor immediately above the 12th. :0)

I walked through the parking lot to the entrance one day.... and happened to pass by a Brand New Bright Red Mustang with all the trimmings, with dealer stickers still in the window.

And a robotic voice spoke to me:

"YOU'RE STANDING TOO CLOSE TO THE VEHICLE! PLEASE STEP BACK!"

Riiiiiight, I thought.

I don't take orders from machinery; nevertheless, not wanting to be arrested, I resisted the impulse to smash the damn thing.

A few days later, I was up very early in the morning, getting ready for a Saturday morning Army drill. It was summertime, so the window of my apartment was open, and you could hear voices and noises carry through the early morning air.

And what I heard was the following exchange:

ROBOT VOICE: "YOU'RE STANDING TOO CLOSE TO THE VEHICLE! PLEASE STEP BACK!"

HUMAN VOICE: "F__K YOU!"

Followed by a smashing sound, thud, thud, thud, and the sound of a car alarm going off.

By the time I got downstairs to get in my car (about 10 minutes later) the police and the dismayed car owner were standing next to the car, now decorated with three or four souvenirs of the baseball bat which had disciplined it for its impudence.

A few days later, I saw the car again in the parking lot, fully repaired, and again I touched it as I passed by.

This time it didn't say a word.

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Keep it clean for gene.