Inventions We Need
Throughout history, humans have invented machines to make their work easier and to allow them to accomplish more. Among the first simple machines were the lever, the inclined plane, and the wheel. Since then we have invented the air conditioner to keep us comfortable in the summer heat, the wide screen TV to keep us from getting bored, and the iPod to keep us from interacting with each other. One might think that our needs, at this point, are fully met, but the near future will bring new challenges. As world population continues to grow and the earth's resources are stretched beyond their limits, we will need to invent new technology to meet these challenges.
The Electronic Family
Overpopulation is the problem from which all other problems spring. There are just too damn many people, and new people are born every second. We know that people are too selfish and stupid to limit themselves to one baby and reduce the population by themselves. One of the strongest urges we experience in life is the urge to reproduce. However, babies are messy, expensive, and extremely demanding, and family life is stressful. What we need is a satisfying alternative.
Enter the electronic family, pre-programmed to satisfy your every need, both emotional and physical. As "the machines" determined in the movie, "The Matrix," however, perfection is not acceptable to humans. Therefore, your electronic wife will be nurturing, passionate, and sexy, and will spend too much money and wreck your car; your electronic husband will be a solid citizen, hardworking, compassionate, attentive and wise, and will insist on playing golf and/or poker once a week, will repeatedly invest in overseas enterprises in response to email solicitations, and be completely diverted by every female backside; and your electronic children will be adorable, bright, and incomparably talented but will lie constantly to get out of doing the things they should do, will shirk their basic hygiene, and will listen to not one word you say. In short, for a reasonable up-front investment you will have all the benefits of a 'real' family without housing, medical, dental, grocery, or clothing expenses.
The electronic family would benefit the entire world by helping to limit or even reverse population growth, because after a foretaste of what family life is really like, no sensible person will want to trade their electronic family that can be simply turned off for a spouse and children that can not be so easily gotten rid of for twenty, thirty, or even forty years.
Electronic psychiatrist sold separately.
As the global economy becomes more and more competitive, workers will have to sacrifice benefits in order for companies to survive. One of the first benefits to suffer will be time off - vacation, sick leave, maternity leave, etc. Although you would not want to tell your boss this, there are many days when you would not have to attend work at all to do the mindless, repetitive things you have to do there. A machine could perform these tasks more efficiently than you do. That's where the Office Avatar (OA) comes in.
The OA would look, sound, act, smell, taste, and feel like you do, and would behave in the way you pre-program it to behave: focused, task-oriented, blah, blah, blah. It would know the answers to the same stupid questions you answer every day, and it would know who to consult when it does not know the answer. It would know who to brown-nose and who to back-stab, who to stroke and who to dis. It would perform all of the brain-numbing, soul-killing, dead boring stuff you do all day, and it would perform it with style, grace and a happy face. Meanwhile, you remain in touch with the OA by Blackberry or iPhone while you're at the gym, saloon or brothel, ready to handle the rare emergence of a question or task requiring creativity or intelligence. Should such a circumstance occur, an alert would sound on your hand held device, and you would stop whatever pleasure you are engaging in to instruct your OA on how to negotiate the problem. If you fail to respond, your OA is equipped with as formidable a barrage of delaying tactics as you are. Worst case, you come in the next day and clean up the mess.
A side benefit of the OA is that if one of your co-workers "goes postal," your OA will be there to take the bullet for you. Another benefit could be a raise in pay or even a promotion, based on the bland consistency of your work and attendance.
We look forward to a bright future of reduced stress and increased recreation. We can only hope that we will use our new-found free time to constructive advantage.