I have one question: Why?
This is the question that pops into my head whenever I flip through any of those slick catalogs hawking the latest in high-dollar, high tech gizmos for yuppies -- why is so much of our society's brainpower and research money being frittered away on frivolous crap?
You want crap? Try house slippers with headlights. Let's hope that person isn't trying to invent anything else. Or this -- a $250 rapid-fire toaster that can pop out 130 slices of toast per hour right in your kitchen. If this thing appeals to you, let me be the first to tell you: You've got a toast problem, buster, and it's time to spend some money for professional help, not for a 130-slices-an-hour toaster.
Some of this crap is not just crap, but absurdly expensive crap pitched to the pompous and overpampered rich, including the $90,000 Audi A8, which has 65,000 electrodes to scan your fingerprints so you can open its doors by waving your hand in front of it. It also has a computer that automatically tunes the radio to the driver's favorite station and sculpts the front seat to the contours of the driver's bottom. If that's not enough for the lazy class, try the FMD-700 Eye Trek TV glasses that use prisms to alter the line of sight so you can lie flat in bed and watch TV or videos -- no more need to strain yourself by sitting up.
There's even a techno-consumer magazine, aptly named Stuff, that has unwittingly expressed the whining wasteland ethic behind this mindless production and consumption of crap: "We've launched missions to Mars," says Stuff, "so why can't we build a robot that can pour us a drink?"
Well, Stuff, undoubtedly we can and probably will, but the question is, why? The exploration of Mars is at least about the reach of the human spirit. Not being willing to reach for your own drink is about human sloth. Just because we can make it doesn't mean we should. Shouldn't we focus our technological geniuses on the world's real needs?