Chapter 5 - Techno Babble
Advertising for technology must be quite a task. You have to film the commercial, get it through all the
paperwork, and by the time you air the damn commercial it's already obsolete. It must be the
most unrewarding profession out
there. Nothing you ever do is good enough. EVER. And there is always someone who, no matter what
you do, is one step ahead of you. And short of hiring hitmen, there's not a damn thing you can do
about it. I mean, think
about it. Back in the day, some genius science guy came running out of a room with tears in his eyes,
screaming, "I've done it, I've built the most clunky and spacewasting machine ever!"
What he really meant to say was
that he'd made history by developing the world's first computer. Who cared if it couldn't count past
ten? Who cared if it took up a NASA space shuttle hanger? Who cared if some Chinese guy off the
street could do ten times the
calculations with an Abacus in the same amount of time? Well, no one cared, because this thing LIT UP AND
MADE BEEPING NOISES. Well whoopee for us, we had the world's largest paperweight. And it
remained completely useless, until
some military guy out in Nevada said, "Hey wait guys, couldn't we use this to kill
people?" Then all of a sudden we had a new invention, the transistor. The
public was thrilled. The military was thrilled. The rest of the world didn't care. Now
the army could use this technilogical
menace to do things that they could had done anyway, but now when they did it it made lots of cool
little beeps and lights and stuff. Of course, this was not to last, because
then some guy came out of his garage
with the first integrated circuit, and then they could shrink the superhuge paperweight into a small, more
compact version of a paperweight. Around
the same time, the Chinese decided to steal our military secrets by method of carrier pigeon, and soon after
a more compact abacus was developed.
Through the years the computers got faster and faster, and smaller and smaller and then they could do some stuff other then beeping and lighting up and THEN, oh yes THEN, we had ourselves something special. And then some guy out there said, "Hey, let's all hook up our computers together and then we can use them to trade naked pictures of our wives and girlfriends." And everyone thought this was a great idea. And so did the military. Especially the sailors. So then we developed the internet. And the peasants rejoiced.
So here we are now, and what are we doing? Still making improvements. Apparently, the rate that one can view naked wives and girlfriends still just isn't fast enough. So we have CD-Roms and cool little gizmos that beep louder and 50 times more efficently, and faster processors and all that jazz. And now we can kill lots of people with our computers. So we should all be happy. But alas, we are not. And scientists still work against the clock.
"Sir, I've finally finished. I present to you, the first seven
billion megahertz processor.
It's the newest technology."
"Nice work, may I ask what changes you made?"
"Well, we took out some unnecessary components, such as the iambic trifibulator and the combustible waxationalizer, and we changed what the circuits were made out of."
"Oh? What are they made out of now?"
"By god, who would have thought that metal conducts electricity? Let me just ask you one more question... does it do that cool beeping and lighting up thing?"
"Um... well not exactly sir, but there's really no reason for that... it would slow the performance to... well... 34 megahertz..."
"Well, looks like you have a couple kinks to work out then, come back to me when you have something that beeps and lights up. Dismissed."
Apparently the Japanese have come out with some new kind of circuit or processor or something like that that is
so fast, it's obsolete. Allow me to explain. The processor runs at speeds so fast that
everything else out there can't
handle it. It's like putting a track runner in cement shoes. Now, this presents a very good question
to me, what happens when we reach the
limit? There will be a limit. No matter how long it takes,
eventually we won't be able to get
any faster, or any smaller then we have. And then what? Well, some clever guy will
figure out that all he has to do is say that something really stupid is a new technology and everyone
will get so damn excited that it
will start everything all over again. For example, someone will come out with a wheel, and
hail it as a completely new technology.
By that time in the future, people will have forgotten what a wheel looks like anyway. So again,
we will start from scratch.
"Dad, come on, you said we could go and look at the wheels now"
"For god sakes, Timmy, why do you want a wheel so bad?"
"Dad! Everyone else on the block has a wheel except for us! It's the newest technology!"
"What's so special about it? And you know, there's something strangely familiar about those wheels..."
If we don't start over, we're going to find that the computers that come out are just too fast for any practical use that we could possibly think up for them. So it's a lose lose situation. My solution? Build yourself a bomb shelter and start your own lemming worshipping undergrount cult. That way when the technology resets, it won't make a difference to you anyway, because lemmings don't change, they stay the same. They're the only race that after centuries of evolution, they still do the long jump off cliffs. Maybe your cult can run off a cliff too. OK, maybe not.
Copyright RLA 1999, All rights reserved.