Technology gone wrong

“Science is not a pretty thing.  It is unpleasantly proportioned, outlandishly attired, and often overeager.  What, then, is the appeal of science?”

–          Fran Liebowitz

 

“Anybody who uses a computer doesn’t know a damn thing about this game.  A computer can’t tell if a kid’s got instincts or not.”

–          Clint Eastwood, Trouble with the Curve

 

I sat there at the airport bar the morning after celebrating 48 glorious yet far too brief hours in New York City.  I had barely slept and was in dire need of some kosher sustenance before my flight home: bagels, nova and a nice, stout Bloody Mary.  It was ten a.m.

I looked up at the bartender, eager to grab her attention and place my order.  The only problem was she paid me no mind.  Hidden behind this giant iPad, she walked around unresponsive to my needs, a cardinal sin for anyone in the service industry.

The Bartending iPad

Invitingly, this iPad stared directly at me so I started hitting some buttons since I couldn’t communicate with anyone else.  That’s when it hit me.  The iPad was the bartender or at least the order taker.  Unbeknownst to me, I had stumbled into a Jetsons cartoon.  Welcome to the 21st century, Mr. Humpherys.   I punched in my order with no small talk or chit-chat.  Just the facts, ma’am.

Eventually the bartender handed me my drink only after she had received my order from the iNtermediary.  It was literally the first contact I had with her after sitting down some fifteen minutes prior.

I’ve always been one to cut out the middle man, thriving for a far more personal touch.  Considering tending bar is my chosen profession, I couldn’t help but be offended by someone thinking that… I could be replaced.

About a month ago I read an article about the NFL using robotic tackle dummies during their practices.  Hey, at least they can’t fail concussion protocol, right?  I couldn’t help but visualize coaches using remote controls from the sidelines like a father and son in the park flying a model airplane.  Can you imagine Monte Kiffin or the late Buddy Ryan trying to work one of those contraptions?  Exactly.

Pittsburgh Steelers condition their bodies for the 2016 season at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex during the offseason.

I’m not quite sure how these mobilized, mechanized punching bags are supposed to replicate the production or instincts of a human being but who am I to judge the NFL for its use of common sense?  Their track record precedes them.

We’re clearly doing our best (worst?) to keep scientists employed but I can tell you it’s been years since I’ve ordered something from a Sharper Image catalog.  I’m all for technology, efficiency and advancing as a culture; I’m as attached to my laptop and cell-phone as any other red-blooded American.  It’s hard to imagine how we ever survived without the internet but I’ll be damned if I’m about to automate life.

I don’t mean to sound like a crotchety old Clint Eastwood character bitching about how things used to be back in the day but I think there comes a point where we can probably draw the line on our “inventiveness” or at least put it to better use.

Technology was intended to make our lives more care-free, not more impersonal.  We’re human.  We make mistakes.  I’m not worried about being replaced.  No machine can do what I do.  It’s why there are still umpires and not automated strikes zones, why there are still referees and not robocops.

We don’t want to watch robots play football and I sure as shit don’t want a fucking machine making my drink.  Even if the bartender sucks, at least he has a pulse.

24 thoughts on “Technology gone wrong

  1. I worry for you , my friend. For when Skynet becomes self aware, it will read these posts, and it will remember. It will always remember. Our future robot overlords are all knowing.

    The upside is that if you spill a drink on Skynet it will probably go on the fritz, so there’s that.

  2. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers might want to look into the idea of robotic tackling dummies on the field for the Buccaneers’ defense during the upcoming regular season. I am sure it will be less expensive than what they’re now paying the secondary.

    Where would we be without new technology , internet gambling with millions being reaped by the companies who are now based offshore ? The only people pis#ed off by that seem to be the IRS and the federal government. Yet somehow they don’t seem overly concerned major Fortune 500 companies who can avoid paying federal income tax. That’s my rant for the day Chris and early birthday greetings brother ! Now go out there , party like a rock star and simply lay the wood like a po#n star .

  3. Welcome to the future Chumpy McFly.
    With this whole $15.00 an hour minimum wage BS going on, you had better get used to automation nation. Companies look at bottom line, they could give a rats ass about human interaction or how you “feel” punching your order onto an iPad vs a real live person. Why would they pay $15 to some clown when they can put Mr. Robot order taker and pocket the difference?

    That Home Depot “self checkout” line is coming to an everybusines near you. Thanks dip shit overreaching politicians!

  4. Chris,
    Interpersonal actions should remain person to person personal. I agree with you there. However, extensive studies have shown that 14% of MLB strike calls are wrong. There should be automated strike zones. And I also believe in the use of videos in football refereeing. It is much fairer. And I am much, much older school than you.

  5. Did your barkeep expect you to tip her?

    But honestly, don’t get me started on technology in sports. The NFL ruined their game for me with instant replay, which proves they can still get the call wrong.

    And now baseball is attempting to draw more youth to their game by using instant replay. Screw my generation, which has more disposable income than Millennials. I guess they figure they can’t wait until after I’m dead to start drawing replacement fans. Never mind that baseball doesn’t need instant replay. It imitates life, always has. Life isn’t fair; sometimes you eat the bear and other times the bear eats you. In baseball your team gets a bad call, but the next night they’re the beneficiary. Over 162-game season it all evens out.

    Would you rather see a manager stroll out of the dugout to ask for a review, or seen him storm out, tossing his cap, spittle flying, to kick dirt on the umpire’s shoes a la Billy Martin, Earl Weaver, Lou Piniella, and Sparky Anderson?

    Sorry, but you pushed my button.


  6. I can see robotic tackling dummies working well with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ secondary this upcoming season. It would be far less expensive and more productive for the Bucs to begin with.

  7. The Bucs are on the right track, Al. After all, they only had one way to go and that was up.

    I’ll have my thoughts up on Timmy soon. I think you’ll enjoy.

  8. Bleed…

    Like I said, I’m down with technology.

    We humans, however, have to learn to make ourselves inexpendable. Not like the Stallone movie, just invaluable to our employer.

    The good thing about the service industry is that my employer can pay me below minimum wage (a steal if you can get it – I’m worth far more) but I make my living off tips.

    Besides, I’m pretty convinced Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse could kick Robocop’s ass. There’s no substitute for being nice… until it’s no longer time to be nice.

  9. Jim…

    My uncle is also old school, just as you suggest, not as old school as you.

    To this day, he swears that instant replay is bad for baseball.

    In this particular instance, he and I disagree.

    I’m all for getting the calls right. There’s no telling how the botched Jeffery Maier call in that Yankees series might have changed things if not the course of history.

    I’m not sure where I stand on foul calls and strike calls being automated nor am I sure what our options are. I’m down for umps creating their own strike zone. It adds character to the game and keeps pitchers and hitters honest.

    I’m not sure if MLB will ever go the way of Wimbledon and their whistles and beeps when balls miss or hit the zone. Not to mention I’m pretty sure the umpires union won’t allow it.

    There’s an answer out there somewhere. I’m not sure any of us know what it is though. Maybe the computers can figure it out.

  10. Guest…

    I like it.

    Perhaps I should host and old school debate between you and Jimmy.

    I’ll get my best Michael Buffer tux on and let you guys go at it. LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!!!

    I could sell some pay-per-view for the occasion. I bet that would draw a crowd.

    Heck, if Manny Pacquiao can come out of retirement to make a cool however many million, anything is possible.

  11. Al…

    Tampa Bay knew addressing the secondary was a pressing need. Heck, they went with a DB with their number one pick.

    I say we see how this thing plays out.

  12. Chris,
    I live in a service oriented town. The trend of automation in the casinos is reducing employment. Slot tickets and change machines are putting ppl on the street. Casino executives stress the need for loyalty by their employees. They never reciprocate.

    Can you imagine an iPad replacing BBrown or TCruise?

  13. Chris

    The only thing Bucs’ head coach Dirk Koetter has going for him, is the fact he’s not likely to be any worse than his three previous predecessors.

    All of this idiocy now by LBJ, wanting to be more politically vocal along with his fellow NBA players and other professional athletes , in light of the recent tragedies we have seen play out across the nation , is becoming more asinine by the minute. LeBron James isn’t even intelligent enough to question the work practices of his biggest endorser Nike , but now wants to talk about issues of police deaths and the deaths of victims at the hands of law enforcement ? Isn’t that akin to getting a geography or math lesson from Sarah Palin or Bernie Sanders giving you ideas on the bankruptcy laws work here in the US ? WTF !!!!

    Sanders won’t answer questions as to why his wife as the provost of a private university went bankrupt , while the students there in some cases have yet to finish their degrees, but he’s also suggesting he’d allow the idiots who presided over the crushing debt amassed by Puerto Rico , be allowed to oversee the island’s debt restructuring after bankruptcy. Now you have the federal government suggesting it will be necessary to bail out the island of their $74 billion debt by using taxpayers monies.

    Not much excitement with regard to the MLB All Star Weekend . Is it really a necessity to have the Home Run Derby as it’s always anticlimactic and never providing any real excitement. Pitcher aren’t even trying in terms of the pitches being tossed.

  14. LBJ knows how to pick his battles, Al. He nor few others will bite the hand that feeds them.

    You sure Nike is still doing the things they were?

    And do you think Phil Knight tells of it in his new biography?

  15. Pingback: The Long Trek to Fayetteville, Part Deux | Sports Chump

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*