Mental Acruity - use it or lose it


With all the fuss about the Apple Homepod this past fortnight I thought I'd add my ill-conceived, uninformed and only lightly researched opinion to the mix. I'm not really focusing upon the technical ins and out of the product itself, but more upon where we are heading with the integration of technology and ultimately artificial intelligence into our everyday lives.

Seldom a day goes by where the merits of which 'voice in a can' is best. The internet is overflowing with various geeks debating how best to engineer your voice activated assistant to turn your lights on before you get home or before you get out of bed each morning or open your garage door or play a song for you. The list goes on.

I appreciate that this automation is a godsend to the disabled. Finally, for the MS sufferer or the myriad of other debilitating diseases, control of some everyday household functions is simply a voice command away. Bravo for technology.

What I really don't get is that for the rest of us, is it really that difficult to switch a light on as you walk in the room? Are you really that scared of the dark that you can't come home to your house unless the lights are on? Is pressing the little button on your garage door remote that difficult? Or perhaps the effort of pressing your TV remote buttons is just soooo energy expansive you need a $300 digital assistant to do it for you?

Nerds and geeks beware; sometimes, just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Medical research is showing us in more and more intricate ways that movement, thinking, speaking, reading, writing, painting and drawing and all manner of exercise has profound effects upon a person's cognitive ability. By having artificial intelligence read everything for us, automate our home, switch the TV on even change channels is, in small increments, eroding our cognitive abilities. 

Unless of course, the time saved by not switching on your own light, or pressing the buttons on your TV remote etc. saves you that much time, you've taken up tennis or dancing, or and instrument or any other immersive and physical challenge? 

Hmmmm, I thought not.

PS. And if you really needed evidence that laziness + technology sometimes shouldn't be each others' solution then you might be interested in this. Could it be a great bonus for a Company that makes vibrators? Or the best marketing tool for a pizza Company? (In case you are reading this at work - the link connects to Mashable and is a vibrator that will order you a pizza - after it's errr, done its job!)