I just got off the phone after a 5-minute conversation with a computer. And it wasn't the press 1 for this or press 2 for that kind of call that we're used to, this was a full-on, comprehending digital female voice. When asking me what it is I wanted, the lady machine could understand my words, even gave me options. In fact, during the conversation T was asking me something, and as I replied to her or if I laughed out of pure astonishment, the machine lady interrupted her spouting of options to stop and say, "I'm sorry, I didn't understand that. Did you say...?" When I stated I didn't have a second number where I could be reached, she replied, "That's ok, we still have your first number, don't worry." (And I was, people, I was worried!) She even looked through her digital datebook to find a time for the next repair man to show, and when she finally asked if I could be available from 9 a.m. to 6 pm. today, Friday, September 17th, for a techinician to come to my house, as if a machine myself, I finally requested to be transferred to an agent. And she understood my request.
All this had come after a call last night to pay my cell phone bill (late), where the first few minutes Miss Verizon Digital Lady expressed her heartfelt sympathy to me for the families in Louisiana that lost their homes and lives. Miss VDL contined to voice how they're committed to making the transition back to normal lives as easy as possible for those effected by Hurricane Katrina, and they'll do everything they can in order for that to happen. Something just seemed wrong about a machine spouting off words of compassion and dedication. It doesn't quite have the same effect coming from a robotic voice, even if it was programmed to sound warm and sincere.
I know this isn't all that uncommon, guys, but this morning I'm having a hard time believing we're actually there, that the future we were waiting for is present. The words of Chris Martin singing "it could be computers looking for life on earth" are suddenly true now, not a hundred years from now. And as I hypocritically transform my human voice into digital words and code for computers to display, I'm suddenly longing for the time where 2010 seems light-years away and human contact and interaction were actually needed, desired even. And all this came from my need to get online at home after finally installing a landline a week ago(remember those?) that is now broken, when I spend all 40-hours of my work-week staring at a computer. It just doesn't seem right.
Can't it just be 1985 again?