By Denise Gibel Molini
For some reason, I have been dealing with writer’s block for a while, but this seems so important to put out there that I had to express my concern. Sunday, I was watching 60 minutes. They aired a segment on robots that were doing the work of employees in the manufacturing industry. The experts said, in that segment, that in the near future, robots would fill the jobs brought back from China and other areas of the world. When we go to the supermarket, we see more and more that self-service lanes are replacing cashiers. Even garbage trucks have arms that lift and dump the garbage into the truck. It is no stretch to imagine that robots will soon be able to stock the shelves in the stores and, as moving computers, be much better at advising consumers the precise location of any item on any shelf in any store.
In Florida, the Sun Pass is taking the place of tollbooth attendants. We have automated telephone operators, automated customer service, self-service gas stations, automated parking lots, and e readers. It is no giant leap to envision automated buses and trains. We already have automated bank tellers. And in case Hollywood has not noticed, the actor will soon be replaced by automated characters, without in anyway effecting the box office receipts, as seen by the movie Avatar.
The technological advances that we once hailed as devices that would make the jobs of workers easier, are replacing those same workers and then some. If we continue in the direction that technology is leading us, we will arrive at the destination we fear most. Every medical, military, industrial, commercial, educational, service oriented advance that we have made with technology, from the Gutenberg printing press, has inevitably eliminated jobs.
Einstein did what he loved, and in his heart, he imagined that his work would ultimately be in service to mankind, never did it occur to him that it would be used to destroy it. Invention is form of art. The inventor is inspired to create. The inventor is carried away by the invention and never, in the end, does he or she consider that it is taking us closer and closer to the elimination of our basic ability to survive.
If we make the effort to move, for a moment, away from our awe in what we are able to create, we will realize that each creation brings us closer and closer to our irreverence. We seem intent on destroying ourselves and all that we believe in. It says that art imitates life, but I think that is not the case. Art gives us a glimpse into our possible futures.
Some will remember the television show, “Touched by an Angel”. It did not really impact me that the head angel was Black. However, when they finally brought us face to face with God, and He was Black – it was in that moment that I knew I would live to see a Black President. This was only later supported by the fact that it seemed from then on, every time I saw a depiction of God in a movie it was Morgan Freeman, and when he was not playing God, he was busy playing the President.
How many movies today depict the takeover of computers, the ultimate enemy of mankind being none other than mankind’s own technological creations. If we can even remember, those of us who were not educated to memorize, but to think, imagine, and envision, what the possible symbolism might be hidden in our obsession with blood sucking vampires, or the walking dead feeding on each other? Leonardo Da Vinci, Nostradamus, Jules Vern, just to name a few who peaked into the possible means to our own end.
Perhaps the true prophets of our age, are the writers of these movies and television shows that we perceive as entertainment. Perhaps we should take heed of the repetitive theme of the need for individuals from the future to return to our present to change the course that lead to our end, and find a way to change that course, NOW.
It is our nature to create, explore and expand, that cannot and should not be curtailed. It is our unalienable right. And I do not believe that it in itself is the means of our destroying the quality of life we so deeply cherish and pray to leave for our children and grandchildren. I do believe, that the use of that gift, for financial profit, power or supremacy, is what will guarantee that our children and grandchildren will have only one dream left by us, and that dream will be to survive just one more day.