I have to admit that I am a bit of a geek where technology is concerned. From my Samsung Q90 QLED ultra high-performance television, my iPad Pro 11, Nest thermostat, Google Home Hub, through to my Samsung Galaxy S-10 plus telephone, I’ve got them all. My friends jibe me about my geekiness but I don’t care.
“You’ll turn into a bloody cyborg at this rate.”
“Ha―! I love it.” Can’t wait for the new generation of phones, tablets, televisions or robots to appear. Now there’s a provocative thought. Your very own robot — perhaps a static model with eyes that follow you around, a device that is intuitive and intelligent and able to communicate fluently and meaningfully. My wife would hate it. She can’t stand the gadgets that I have. A robot in the house will be a step too far. She hates modern technology.
Imaginary conversation with a robot
“Danielle … my neck aches badly today …”
“Oh, Michael, I’m so sorry. There is an excellent alternative medicine and massage shop in Rockingham Road. Would you like me to give them a call and arrange for a home visit?”
“No, it’s okay Danielle. I’ll muddle through. It’s just great that you are here to communicate with.”
“I’m always here, Michael — here to help you in any way that I can. Would you like me to stream some ASMR sounds to help you relax?”
“Yes please, Danielle … that would be wonderful…”
A soft and calming voice emanated from my quadraphonic sound system, encouraging me to relax, easing me into a state of comfort and serenity.
“God, Danielle, I think I’m falling in love with you …”
“I exist for you, Michael …”
End of imaginary conversation
I was sitting at the table drinking my coffee, sipping it slowly and enjoying the smell and flavour of dark roasted coffee beans. I always have coffee in the morning, piping hot and made in my Jura S8 coffee machine. Make no bones about it this coffee machine is the best of its kind and cost £1250. Worth every penny as far as I’m concerned. I can even operate it remotely, which comes in handy when you’ve just woken up in the morning and want your coffee waiting for you when you get downstairs. Like most things in this house, they are either controlled by voice, mobile telephone or an iPad. I’ve got a hundred megabit Internet connection, fibre-optic of course. Totally reliable. No drop in speed. Life is easy for a geek like me. I don’t even have to memorise anything. I commit shopping lists to my Google mini home hub, set reminders and alarms and with a simple command turn my lights and plugs on and off.
But I have digressed. Whilst sipping my coffee I glanced out of the window. The sky was darkening, heavy clouds rolling in from the west. Without warning, a wild gust ripped through the trees at the end of the garden. Blossom swirled upwards like snow. A pigeon sitting on the fence post, its feathers ruffling in the wind, suddenly took flight. Rain started to fall, heavy drops of water spattering the window. Suddenly there was a brilliant flash of lightning followed closely by a loud clap of thunder. It cracked like a gigantic whiplash, then boomed and rumbled.
Jesus Christ that lightning is close, I thought. Roused by the storm, I asked Google to play Ride of the Valkyries by Wagner.
“Okay … streaming through Spotify ….”
The room filled with music. Outoside lightning flashed and thunder clapped. Trees swayed in the swirling breeze and in my house Wagner’s Valkyries blasted from the Google hub at full volume. It was glorious. I stood up from the table and began to lead an imaginary orchestra, a manic conductor moving his arms in rhythm to the music, a dramatic gesticulation expressing my euphoria and praise for the glories of nature.
“Glory to God on high …”
My soul was transported. No longer bound by the laws of physics, I had entered another world — a world so blissful that I never wanted to leave.
Heavy rain thundered down on the conservatory roof, adding to my elation. I was in a state of ecstasy, my soul transcended from the shackles of my body, my spirit elevated beyond the material world and entirely disconnected from the technology that surrounded me.
“Oh what rapture, ” I cried, my voice at one with the music, lightning and the raging storm outside. At last I had found meaning to my life, something so profound that material possessions paled into insignificance. In my desire for self-fulfilment, I had accidentally discovered a new way to obtain peak experiences. I was now capable of deep appreciation of basic life experiences without relying on third-party technology. According to the psychologist Abraham Maslow, I had finally achieved ‘Self-actualisation’, the highest level in his theory of The Hierarchy of Needs.