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By Mark H. Walker
Question: How do you tell a male from a female turtle?
Answer: The male’s the one with the remote.
A few years back someone slapped a remote in my hand. It seemed
like a good idea at the time. The girl I was using to fetch beer and change
channels was taking up too much of my time. I was ready for a switch, and
although the remote wouldn’t fetch beer it did flip from the Colt game
–the BALTIMORE Colt game-- to the Madonna video as I stood at my refrigerator
swilling Bud. But something inside me whispered, “This isn’t right, this
So I moved my chair closer to the refrigerator.
Nevertheless, I knew that the TV remote was a good thing. So too were
faster computers, VHS players, tape decks, and then CD-ROMs. In fact technology
brought so much good that I became Pavlov’s dog. Whenever someone would
ring the technology bell, I’d salivate. And Bill Gates grinned.
He wasn’t alone. An entire generation of technosapiens (Def Leppard’s
word, not mine) has blossomed, cell phones on ears, MP3 players on hips.
It’s a good thing. Yeah, cell phone impaired drivers do kill the occasional
pedestrian, but it’s a small sacrifice. Look at what we have. There are
FAX machines to speed hard copy transactions, email to instantaneously
communicate, and videoconferencing that enables businesses to do more each
day than they used to do in a week. At least until a stressed worker pulls
an M-16 on their co-workers. That slows stuff down a bit.
We’re at the beginning of a digital decade, claims Mr. Gates. By 2010
we’ll be able to carry all our files with us wherever we go, have music
in our pocket, instant access to email –which, by the way, will give your
bosses instant access to you, and operate our computers remotely. I mean
like from across the room (as if you can’t walk ten feet to the screen?).
It reminds me of a game I once played. A game called Mission Critical.
It’s a great game. A game that foresaw an Earth fractured into two camps:
Those who sought technology at any price, and those who asked the simple
question, “When is enough, enough?” As I write this scientists are attempting
to build the first human. A technology that we have had, with a much more
enjoyable methodology, since the beginning of time. Yet, since the cloning
technology exits, the dogs will use it.
The challenge of our children’s life will not be assimilating new technology,
but rather questioning it. Pavlov’s dog was, after all, a dog. We are not.
Well, at least no one’s ever called me that to my face. Yet, I smell a
bit of the lab on our skin. See the new gadget, want the new gadget? Drool
for the new gadget? Isn’t it just plastic?
© Mark H. Walker, LLC 2001
Mark H. Walker is a veteran interactive entertainment journalist who has written over 40 books including his recently released Video Games Almanac and The Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Games.
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