Are we so insecure of our accomplishments in the 21st century that we must embellish the truth?
Because we didn’t live up to the Back to the Future series hype, a few years ago, we began calling a wheeled board a hover board. Look. You’re not fooling anyone. Anyone can see the wheels. Call it a powered skateboard if you wish. It certainly is no hoverboard.
I keep making the next point again and again. Robot Wars and Robot battles as they are called are nothing of the sort. They are remote controlled battles and RC Wars. A robot consists of something moveable and a brain. That is a mechanical brain or an electronic brain. Not Ted’s brain which you think should be good because Ted is good at battle video games.
But this overreach has crept into our high tech, too. Richard Branson calls his rocket system that barely gets us to space for a few minutes, Virgin Galactic. What a galaxy has to do with it is anyone’s guess. Perhaps he refers to the Milky Way galaxy which may be visible ship board. I have news for them. The Milky Way Galaxy is easily visible from inside Earth’s gravity well, too. You just need a spot to see it that is away from light pollution and clouds.
Elon Musk has provided one of the most over reaching names thus far. A rocket whose ultimate use might be going to Mars is being called Starship. This is so misleading. The difference between getting to another planet and getting to another star intact is so huge it’s astronomical. Pun intended because this is literally what the word astronomical represents.
What is next on the agenda with this 21st century overreach? “Goodbye, coworkers. I’m going to time travel to our meeting tomorrow morning.”
“Did you see my flying car? It really flew down the expressway. Too bad all the wheeled traffic slowed me.”
“With this camera, I replicated you into 2D!”
“My orange glove is really a flamethrower fist! The more I tighten my fist the more it works!”
But I think the most galling thing about 21st century exaggeration is AI or artificial intelligence. A few years ago the tech explainers began saying that AI is really like a black box whose hood you can’t really look under. Now the cynical tech giant (and all the tech giants are cynical) can take this as meaning you can use anything as long as its tracks can be covered.
The supposedly AI assistants like Siri and Alexa have been found to phone home to their corporate masters. This is disturbing for privacy but they might also reach out for improved programming. One thing that they can for sure do is speak with a human if the AI has problems interpreting or figuring. So is this fool’s AI? I would say almost certainly that it is especially if you have to pay a subscription fee (that could pay for ongoing human interaction).
So in the 21st century you may not get the AI you want but it might just be the AI you deserve. Just like we may not get the tech we want but it is really the tech we deserve. To get otherwise, we must not let the tech giants get away with language slippage.