The new and improved defender of RPGs!

Friday 14 February 2014

The Waiter and the Tablet

So I just got back from having a coffee at "la coruñesa" cafe, and I had a mind-blowing experience when the waiter took my order with a motherfucking tablet. A tablet.  In a street cafe in a "third-world" country waiters are now taking people's orders with tablets.

I was thinking, this guy who took my order: his dad was probably a bricklayer or maybe a farm-worker or fruit-picker from the country with a minimal education. His granddad might have been illiterate.  This was a country where 40 years ago they didn't have colour televisions and not everywhere had electricity.  And now a waiter uses a tiny machine thousands of times more powerful than the entire moon program, with which he can with a single tap on its glass access any of the sum of human knowledge, to take my order.

Am I seriously the only person who is pretty much in a constant state of motherfucking amazement at what we are becoming? And for some reason, to me, nothing has quite said "This is the fucking future" as much as the tablet.  Maybe because its so very star-trek, but of course the cellphone was that too.  Maybe because its more powerful than a computer I might have owned less than 10 years ago but is only 7 inches long. Maybe its because you don't need a keyboard or a mouse to use it.  But probably because its something we can carry with us everywhere and yet has the functionality of a machine you used to have to sit a desk to use.  And probably because of the democratization of it: its fucking everywhere, and everyone I see is using it.

What will the next generation be like? Both of the machines and of us, if indeed at that point there will still be a difference (I'm betting there still will be, but I wouldn't place that same bet another two generations down the line).  How long until its just a chip in our head or a patch on our neck or a tiny vial of liquid we rub onto our skin once in our lives, and then the interface is directly in our brain and we can make invisible screens pop up in front of us and access wikipedia just by thinking it?

Because I so fucking want that.

The future doesn't scare me.  People who are scared of the future scare me.  I hope their luddite nonsense doesn't somehow end up ruining it all, though I doubt they'll be any more successful than their ancient namesakes.


Currently Smoking: Dunhill Shell Diplomat + C&D's Crowley's Best


  1. Just in case you missed this BBC Future story:

    I would sign up for implanted microchips, specially if they come with safe guards such as stress, adrenaline and life signs lock that prevent the chip from being used under a safety situation.

    That would prevent thieves from cutting you open or chopping a limb to get the chip, cause I can be "OK" with loosing my wallet, but loosing a body part, not so much.

  2. That article is fascinating; but of course right now it all looks so primitive and some people might dismiss it as pointless gimmickry (like they did "personal computers" back in the early 70s).

    But the thing is going to be when we can swallow a little liquid vial full of nanites, and they will swim up to our brains and interact with our mind, so that they'll use our own eyes to project the internet in an invisible screen in front of us only we can see, that will react to our hand movements, voice commands, or perhaps even just concentrated thoughts. We'll all have computers thousands of times more powerful than what we have right now, INSIDE US.

  3. Transhuman future, you might then like this magazine a lot, I know I do :)

    It might lead to some sort of gene o augmented wars, but I personally don't mind, change has its casualties.