I’m married to a bona fide geek. Every time I turn around, Carl has subjected our environment to another aspect of technology. As grateful as I am that my retired computer systems analyst keeps my state-of-the-art laptop, phone, and iPad in tip-top condition, I usually respond to any changes with frustration. Every innovation, adjustment, or update creates for me a new learning curve.
Before we moved into our condo last year, Carl spent weeks automating it with Google. Now, whenever he arrives home after doing an errand, Google announces, “Carl has arrived!” accompanied by a cheesy musical fanfare. If we want the kitchen lights turned on, we say, “Hey, Google, kitchen on.” Likewise, he has programmed commands for all the other lights, the TVs, the computers and printers, and the door locks. At bedtime, all we have to say is, “Hey, Google, good night.” This command turns off all the lights, locks the outside doors, closes the garage door, gives us a local weather report, and activates relaxing spa music that turns off automatically after ninety minutes.
So, what’s the problem? Often, I wonder if we of the twenty-first century are becoming slaves to artificial intelligence, instead of the other way around. I recall the disturbing actions of HAL the computer in the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey and wonder what kind of sinister plan is being hatched by Google, Siri and Alexa to overthrow the human population. The signs are there. Who knows? Secret meetings may be underway at this moment.
Already Carl talks to Google more than he talks to me. As I sit writing, I hear him carrying on conversations with inanimate objects throughout the house. What’s scary is that I’ve gotten used to it and usually ignore their back-and-forth discourse.
How is a wife supposed to compete with an entity—sexy female voice and all—that does her husband’s bidding any time of the day or night? As long as I can keep writing my blogs and novels uninterrupted, I suppose I should try to get used to it…or should I say “her.” Now if Carl could program Google to do the laundry, life would be perfect.
Cindy L. Freeman is the author of two award-winning short stories, a novella, Diary in the Attic, and three published novels: Unrevealed, The Dark Room, and I Want to Go Home, (launching September 23, 2018). Website: www.cindylfreeman.com; Facebook page: Cindy Loomis Freeman. Her books are available through amazon.com or hightidepublications.com