This post originally appeared in September of 2016, but we needed a laugh, so we decided to re-share this nugget.
Taken at face value, many tech ads might seem quite ordinary. But when looked at from a particular perspective, they suddenly appear rather ridiculous. We here at The Technoskeptic can’t help but smile at the absurdity of it all, so we thought we’d share our internal narrative as we encounter a few such gems. Consider these blurbs your technoskeptical ad translation service.
This brilliant device automatically takes photographs of the inside of your refrigerator and displays them on a big touch screen. Sure, you could just open the door like a normal person. But what about when you’re out and about? No worries! You can see the pictures remotely from your smartphone. In case you were wondering why you’d want to know what’s in your fridge when you aren’t in a position to actually eat it, that’s called “managing your groceries.” In the old days, we called it a shopping list, but you’d be forgiven if your memory skills have atrophied so much from using similar apps that you are now incapable of merely going shopping for food at ridiculously abundant and convenient stores, let alone, you know, actually hunting or fishing or farming. But why stop there? Why not mount a camera in your throat to immortalize every morsel of food that you consume? Surely that’s important and fascinating enough that there ought to be a record. Perhaps you could mount another one at the exit point and keep a catalog of how everything delicious and wonderful is eventually transformed into effluent, much like how the ideas of refrigeration, photography, and connectivity are all taken here to their nearly satire-proof illogical conclusions.
Just what I’m hoping for… the ice-cold steel touch of humanoid robots handling my health care. Sure, the robot is metaphorical, but the logic is not. If only tech companies and the health providers that buy their wares understood that “care” is something that involves human feeling, listening, and understanding. One sure way to get in the way of that is to have your doctor typing things on screens and entering rigidly quantized information into boxes instead of engaging you in open-ended conversation. But who cares about fuzzy things like “attention” and “feelings” when we have so much awesome data!
Agreed, we have created a global environmental crisis because we’ve relied on a technology that we’ve known to be harmful for decades. So I have a great idea: why not fix it with another technology that we’ve known to be harmful for decades? I mean, OK, so nuclear energy generates tons of waste which is so toxic that it needs to be encased in (questionably) impervious casks. And yes, you have to bury it deep underground at tremendous expense where it remains harmful for decades or millennia—in the case of one Plutonium isotope, 240,000 years. And sure, sure, every so often, you get some cataclysmic disaster like Fukushima, Chernobyl, or Three Mile Island. Ya got me there. But I just said “reliable electricity and clean air”! I didn’t mention land or water. I mean c’mon. One outta three is a hall-of-fame batting average. Plus, I’m much cuter than climate activist Bill McKibben, AND I’m still under 30! Which is about the number of years we’ve known about global warming while doing nearly nothing about it. But really, who cares about climate change anymore when your livestock is dropping dead from radiation poisoning? Problem solved!
View the TV commercial here.
Hmmm. If only there were some sort of invention that allowed you to read, no matter where you are, in extremely bright lighting conditions. Wait—what if it could get a bit of sand and water on it without damaging it? And it would be cheap, of course. So cheap that I could probably even just leave it behind so someone else could enjoy it later. I know, right? While we’re fantasizing, wouldn’t it would be awesome if you never had to charge it? Like, ever? Maybe it could even be made out of some sort of recyclable, renewable material that didn’t require mining a dwindling supply of rare metals that are hard to dispose of! I guess I’ll just have to keep dreaming, since there’s nothing else to save me from my unremitting boredom on this gorgeous tropical island. *Sigh*