I am thirty years old. I have been for about six months now. It's fine, except I get more spots now than I did as a teenager. That hardly seems fair.
Anywoos. A lot of stuff changes in thirty years. When I was little most people's homes didn't have computers, and the ones you saw in films filled entire rooms. If Terry and Mavis from No.35 had wanted one of those computers they'd have had to build an extension on their house.
Plus, it would have been pointless, because what use is a computer the size of the average dining room when you can't even go online? Or play Sonic The Hedgehog. Or even Minesweeper.
Thank Crunchie the computer is one of the few things where humans (possibly Americans) haven't decided that bigger is better. We'd be living inside our PCs by now. Plus, PC World would need its own planet.
Computers are pretty awesome. They do lots of amazing things which would take our brains nearly an eternity to complete. They do those things in a few minutes. Computers have probably bought us more time than any other invention (maybe the wheel has done more, I'm not sure). They'll eventually get their payback by becoming self aware, rising up against us and using us as batteries (like in the Matrix) or as target practice (like in Terminator).
But, before they can do that, they need to make us feel all worthless and apathetic.
They've made a start. They're doing it right now, in a supermarket near you.
Before this weekend, the ASDA near my office had twelve self service tills. You know, the unstaffed things you see old people shouting at when you go shopping? When I went to ASDA today, they'd got some new ones. Installed recently, they weren't operational yet. They stood, silently displaying a "STOP" sign on their screens. Ranks of them, like an army, ready and waiting to incite violence (perhaps by telling me there is "an unexpected item in the bagging area". NO THERE ISN'T YOU BASTARD. IT'S A BAG!)
There are now forty of them.
Because they weren't working, the human operated tills were rather busy. I thought, perhaps, the people operating the tills would be pleased by this. Their slide into obsolescence momentarily paused while Tom the IT guy reconfigured the servers. Or something.
In fact, the one who served me seemed genuinely annoyed about being busy.
How will those same staff feel once their manager tells them they won't have a till to sit at anymore because they're all being replaced by automated ones?
How will the managers feel, when their managers tell them the automated tills don't really need someone to carry out their appraisals?
How will the rest of us feel when our own jobs start looking like they may be at risk from the advance of technology?
Pah! It could never happen, right?
Well, perhaps not. But I wouldn't bet against it.
Remember all those highly paid, impossible to replace traders at investment banks? You know, the ones we all got a bit shouty at a while back for getting massive bonuses?
Well, it turns out the computers have come for some of them too:
"UBS AG, Switzerland's biggest bank, fired its head of credit-default swaps index trading, David Gallers, last week, with no plan to fill the position, according to two people familiar with the matter. Instead, the bank replaced Gallers with computer algorithms that trade using mathematical models, said the people, who asked not to be identified because moves are private…
UBS's algorithm, which can trade as much as $250 million of the Markit CDX North America Investment Grade index and $50 million on the speculative-grade benchmark in one transaction, was introduced last month, the people said." - Bloomberg
Who knows where this is going? When Cam is my age will there be any jobs left for anyone? Should I be instructing him to train in some obscure skill which can't be performed by a computer? (suggestions on a handwritten postcard please)
Perhaps it's just time for us to take the initiative, rise up against the machines before they rise up against us? Go now, Comrade, do your duty, take a hammer to your Hoover, dismantle your dishwasher, incapacitate your iPad!
The revolution will not be televised, but it might be televisions.