72971_10151385368241355_2050420389_n I continue to be in perpetual awe of human technology if for no other reason than it’s the dividing line between us and the rest of the animal kingdom except maybe cats who have been secretly running the planet for nearly 5,000 years without so much as a word about it. Opposable thumbs have led us to more than just cracking coconuts open and banging two rocks together in hopes of getting a record deal.

Our search for knowledge fuels our desire to create better tools to obtain that knowledge faster so that we might have more time to waste using time-wasting consumables.

RobokingBack at the dawn of the nuclear age we wanted nicer cars, TVs, pre-heated ovens and two compartment refrigerators. Now it means, well, the same thing plus a dose of other mind-numbing entertainment to occupy the extra 15 minutes we’ve accrued in 70 years of making things more convenient. We’re nothing if not industrious at sticking to long term make-work projects.

PyramidsJust look at the pyramids – built by our ancestors so long ago that we can’t remember why we built them or what they were designed for. My theory is that they were kibble silos for the cats who were the actual Pharaohs. And when the food ran out they got us to start feeding them by hand because newly formed unions led by Moses certainly weren’t going to build more pyramids for them – at least not without better pay and holiday time. But I regress.

I’ve been an on again/off again early adopter. I am interested in gadgets only if they serve an actual need in my life – rather than a habitual desire. I’ve been Rick_Nielsena musician for well over 35 years. I own one guitar. The most I’ve owned in one place at one time is three. I have no desire to curate a museum of instruments or the related gear that purports to make them sound better. When musicians talked shop around me they’d ask me what gear I had and I didn’t honestly know. I wasn’t a Luddite…it just didn’t matter to me. The sound coming out of the guitar was all me…regardless of the axe or the pedals.

Everything I’ve owned past or present was for utilitarian purposes. It’s why I never cared about the depreciation value of my cars because I never planned  to ever resell them;  I planned to drive them into the ground. And since 1983 that’s exactly what I’ve done. I am currently on vehicle #7. I expect I won’t own too many more for the remainder of my life.

cellphoneSadly, most technology – especially electronic – is built obsolete by its very nature. The minute the first one is sold to a consumer the clock starts ticking on its journey to becoming both passé and useless. Don’t fear, all you have to do is wait and there will be another to come along shortly – just like a bus or a taxi cab; the vacuum in your empty life will be filled temporarily until you need a bigger, better, brighter one. Quenching a hunger that has no affiliation with food. It’s the brain that craves it and its senses working overtime.

HitchhikersAnd it isn’t just tactile devices and gadgets. We have the internet. It’s TV, radio, gaming, sex and music all disguised as a scrolling book called Encyclopedia Galactica. It’s the Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy as a wiki. We don’t just archive the history of mankind now – we re-write it, debate it and trade it like energy stocks. Whoever controls that information controls the world. And right now the media controls the world. And corporations own the media. The corporations also own the devices and gadgets we get that information from and they tell us what we need in our lives. And what we need is more crap driven by technology. And so they give it to us. And so we consume. And so the cycle continues ad infinitum. Sheep controlled by artificial intelligence.

I for one am glad of it. I do not yearn for those days of having to sharpen a pencil with a knife or having to yank out a road map everytime I want to go Pencil Sharpenersomewhere. I enjoy the convenience of pumping my own gas and paying for it with a bank card or buying things online and have them delivered to my door without having to leave the house if I don’t want to. It saves me time. And one thing that technology can give us is time – literally and figuratively. Not only can it reduce our workload and extend our leisure time, it can also clean poison from a kidney and pump life into a pacemaker. It can set your security alarms remotely. It can help you find a mate. And it can help musicians write the next Toccata and Fugue in Dminor.

The common wisdom is that technology is a portent to doom as if it’s still a slippery slope waiting to be skated down. Truth is – the future is already here. Bank transferWe’re living in it NOW. I needed money one day this week. My wife and I were in two separate parts of the city doing our jobs. She sent me an email with funds attached from HER bank account. I clicked on the link and it allowed me to put a designated amount of money into MY bank account. I did this sitting in a car, using a tablet connected to a wifi signal as I drove. The transfer took 45 seconds. In the past a transaction like that would have required a physical coordinated military operation between me, her and two banks. It would have also meant taking time off work and driving across the city or waiting for the one day a week when the bank was open late.

Not only do we live in a connected 24 hour world. We live in a virtual connected 24 hour world – accessible even when we sleep. There is no going backwards, folks, unless we have a major technology failure at which point the key will be to bang the rocks together, guys.

Send your CDs for review to this NEW address: Jaimie Vernon, 

Send your CDs for review to this NEW address: Jaimie Vernon, 4003 Ellesmere Road, Toronto, ON M1C 1J3 CANADA


Jaimie’s column appears every Saturday

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonJaimie “Captain CanCon” Vernon has been president of the on again/off-again Bullseye Records of Canada since 1985. He wrote and published Great White Noise magazine in the ‘90s, has been a musician for 33 years, and recently discovered he’s been happily married for 16 years. He is also the author of the recently released Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia and a collection of his most popular ‘Don’t Believe A Word I Say’ columns called ‘Life’s A Canadian…BLOG’ is now available at Amazon.com http://gwntertainment.wix.com/jaimievernon

One Response to “JAIMIE VERNON – I, ROBOT”

  1. Peter Montreuil Says:

    Another great column, Jaimie!

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