Wednesday 20 March 2013

Meaning: be authentic? Nah, meaning: get cracking! No one else is going to do it for you.

Remember bank tellers doing your banking? Now YOU punch the numbers into the ATM, and manage your account online. Cashiers? Soon to be history. YOU scan and bag your stuff at the self-checkout. Will that be cash or credit? Deal with the automatic lady. And make it chop-chop when she tells you to move on and let others play cashier.

Looking to distribute your music or get your script turned into a film? Start hustling. The studios aren’t going to finance your gig. Go to Kickstarter and get money from schlubs who don’t mind paying for nothing. Maybe you can sell them a sinkhole in Florida while you’re at it.

The DO YOUR OWN THING trend isn’t new of course. It all started with IKEA sending you home with a mystery box containing several boards, a bag of screws, a little gadget to turn them, and a leaflet with sign language.  What can I say? The Swedish hands in the pictures are definitely better at assembling furniture than my klutzy North American fingers.

What’s up next?
When you buy shoes in 2015, you’ll get a box containing soles and uppers, a little gadget to cobble them together, and pictures of Chinese hands.

Universities are already experimenting with the trend. You want education? Get it yourself, online. Not sure if online courses include pictures, but don’t worry. By 2020 at the latest, you get to mark your own papers.

And I’m sure we can talk politicians into doing their own electing. In the last LA mayoral race, the voter turnout was 16% -- a clear indication that people want politicians to do their own x-ing on the ballots.

Medicare too expensive? DO YOUR OWN THING. Take a cab to the hospital. Bring plastic sheeting so as not to drip blood on the car seat or the hospital floor. Also, bring you own IV tree, latex gloves, scalpel, batteries for the laser, and whatever else is indicated on the doctor’s leaflet (with pictures of international hands).

Have you bought a laptop lately? I have. I wanted Windows 7, but all the machines at BEST BUY had Windows 8, which I hate. Could they install Windows 7 for me? Nope. But DELL offers online instructions on how to DO YOU OWN THING and downgrade 8 to 7.  Unfortunately I couldn’t follow the instructions, so I had to pay someone with DELL hands to do the job.

I see a great future for do-it-yourself books: How to talk back to automatic ladies. How to grow hands like those in the instruction leaflets. But why stop there? How to build your own nuclear power station would be a blast. You don’t think you are up to it? Look, everybody makes mistakes, even the Mitsubishi people who screwed up at California’s San Onofre nuclear station.  – I’m sure you can do better.

Of course some institutions are bucking the trend and have actually started doing the job for you. For example, Mercedes and BMW are working on cars that drive themselves.  But Toyota is way ahead of the curve. They came out with self-accelerating cars two years ago. Unfortunately their autonomous cars became unruly and developed a killer instinct. It cost Toyota a lot to settle all the lawsuits.

I hope autonomous airplanes will do better and refrain from self-accelerating into airport structures. My fondest hope, however, is reserved for drones, which will greatly improve the war experience. No more grunt jobs for military personnel. From here on it’s strictly “Travel the world and enjoy free transportation and accommodation.”  So do enlist even if you don’t have killing hands. Drones will do the work for you.

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