I recently saw Microsoft demo their new TV which uses the Kinect to pick up gestures to change channels and adjust volume. As a paid up, card-carrying couch potato, this excites me. But what made me really sit up and take notice (no mean feat), was the voice recognition function that allows couch commandos of the world to search for any movie, song or programme ever created, merely by speaking to the TV.
Picture it. You’re sitting on the couch in your bathrobe with an unsettlingly large White Russian (the drink) and suddenly you get the urge to watch The Big Lebowski for the 36th time. ’TV. Big Lebowski’ is all you need to utter and the system finds it on a third party provider, automatically charges your account and starts streaming it within seconds of your order. Hello future.
You’d think the repercussions of this kind of technology would be detrimental to the nations already flagging McHealth, but you’d be wrong.
Why? E. coli, that’s why.
At the moment, touch and touch-screens are dominating how we interact with technology, permeating our lives at home and in public. From the moment you wake and feverishly check your smartphone for any pokes, likes or comments, to topping up your oyster card at the end of the day, to the punching in of your order at the pub. Touch is everywhere.
Introduce something nasty like E. coli, foot and mouth or even a particularly hateful strain of the common cold into this scenario, and you see the potential for a pandemic of devastating proportions. The word ’wildfire’ comes to mind. So does ’croquet’, but that’s another blog post.
Gesture, on the other hand (if you’ll forgive the pun), means we’d be able to keep the myriad plagues, diseases and infections at arms length whilst out and about in the big bad world. That is if we ever managed to dislodge ourselves from the couch in the first place.