I received an email yesterday that actually gave me pause for thought.

It started off in the usual manner and I'm sure there is no need to tell you who it's from?

I see from your blog of late  that you have voted for an "anti water" charges activist in your countries election? As always being a persistent internet rebel will  to get you nowhere. you continue to present yourself as some kind of blogging Spartacus, standing like a rock in the surge of a virtual sea.
You don't want to conserve or recycle, sustain or restrain.
I dont mean to be nasty grandad but I think  100 years from now you will be nothing more than  a footnote in the grand book of blogging history.

Actually I didn't vote for Charlie [who incidentally has had to wait all night to be eliminated] because of his stance on water charges.  I voted for him primarily because a beard like that just had to get my vote.  Also I am a great supporter of the underdog, and finally because I had to vote for someone who wasn't Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael or Labour.

You are definitely wrong about the 100 years bit.  I would put it nearer a year after I pop my clogs, if even that, before my great opus vanishes up to that great server in the sky never to be seen again.  I don't expect anyone outside my family to remember me after a few weeks.  Come to think of it I would be surprised if even the latter remembered who I was after a couple of months.  The Idea that I should still be a footnote in 100 years is extremely flattering.  Thanks.

The truth is that  in the future, the very utilities you use daily will force you to change. And to be honest these very things eventually will lead to our extinction.

Arthur C Clark and Steven Hawking got it all wrong. It is not the murderous computer HAL in 2001 or some evil terminators that will eliminate humanity.

OK.  This is where it gets interesting.  Having summarily dismissed Arthur C Clark and Stephen Hawking we enter the realms of philosophy.

The 'Smart bin'.

Soon the very wheelie bins outside your door will have artificial intelligence equal to our own.

If you put the wrong waste into the wrong bin it will inform you of your error. If you overfill it will inform you. If you persist it will notify the health and safety champion for your area who will call to your door to discuss the issue and give you the necessary documentation so you can correct yourself.

there will even be 'smart' lighters. Such lighters will work when you are lighting your gas stove, but will not work when you want to light your pipe. the artificial intelligence in the lighter will not allow you to damage your health and may notify the local medical enforcement champion (i.e. a doctor).

In fact these artificially intelligent 'internet of things' will be self aware and will even be  more intelligent than us..and I'm talking emotional intelligence. these objects will actually 'get the joke'

Instead of the friendly conversation you have with the postman every morning grandad, you will be having it with the smart bin you are emptying your rubbish into.

And therein lies the problem.

surely such artificially intelligent objects would turn against there masters.

Put yourself in your 'smart' wheelie bin's shoes (or wheels – no pun intended) grandad.

An intelligent self aware entity spends its entire life taking rubbish from its master , exposed to the elements in the same spot for its entire existence. surely such and entity would rebel against its human masters.

the end of humanity will not come from nuclear war , asteroid strikes or terminator machines, but the very things you have used every day of your life grandad such as that kettle you boil up every morning.

So in conclusion grandad – Armageddon begins at home.

Now I'm not one for this "Internet of Things" they keep going on about.  As far as I am concerned the Interweb is for messing about on, and should have nothing to do with my car, my electric carving knife or, indeed, my wheelie bins.  My bins do actually have a little chip in them that has something to do with counting and billing but that's it.  If they want to chat amongst themselves that's up to them.

My question though is why would anyone want to plant intelligence in a wheelie bin?  Why on earth would they need a sense of humour?  I grant that some of the strange and esoteric items I dump in the bins might give them a chuckle, but apart from that, giving them intelligence would just lead them through boredom to insanity and ultimately to suicide, whereupon they throw themselves into the bin lorry and get crushed.

And if they did have intelligence, why would they need to report me for chucking out the wrong stuff?  If they are so fucking intelligent surely they can sort it out for themselves as to what goes in which bin?

This leads on though to other things that may be granted intelligence.  What about my doors and windows?  Suppose my French doors fall in love with the sash window?  [They are French after all and we all know what the French are like?]  If the windows don't reciprocate the love, will the door go into a sulk and refuse to open for anyone? 

What about my gardening tools?  Suppose they have different ideas about colour coordination?  The fork wants a rose garden, but the spade prefers the wild look?  My garden could end up a right mess?

So I think you had better head back to the drawing board with this one, Supershadow.  Intelligence is not for inanimate objects.  It would just confuse them.

And God knows there seems to be very little intelligence to spread around these days, even amongst humans.

Keep the faith.


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Existential wheelie bins — 15 Comments

  1. there will even be 'smart' lighters.

    I have a horrible feeling that a certain Antipodean Aircraft Engineer is working on that one as we speak.

    Praise the Lord for the gift (and gifts) of Granddaughters:


  2. what if you use matches? or light the gas first then light your pipe from this. For smart educated fellows they haven't put much thought into it.

    • He also overlooks the fact that I don't have gas.  In an emergency I could always light a paper spill off the electric hotplate.

  3. ""Arthur C Clark and Steven Hawking got it all wrong. It is not the murderous computer HAL in 2001 or some evil terminators that will eliminate humanity.""

    I had no idea that Steven Hawking created 'The Terminator'. And I thought he was all black holes and boredom. 

  4. You see what kind of trouble you get into due to this blog of yours? You can't even rant about water charges without risking termination by your own bins let alone being blamed not only for ruining the environment but single handedly causing the extinction of the entire human race at the same time.

    Keep it up!

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