Technologically Fantastical or just Unlikely?

Which of these apparati could actually be built, proven to operate effectively, and be available for retail in the next five to ten years?  Are there any already existing devices that perform similarly to what I’ve imagined?

A.  A computer keyboard outfitted with the hardware and software necessary to turn written words into music.  Notes, octaves, chord progressions are programmable.  Default instrument would be the piano with options to select major chords, minor chords, or both, and to adjust tempo.  Versions 2, 3, 3.14, and 411 would have options for guitar, violin, accordion, saxophone, and harp.  Initially, the keyboard would require a person to type the words; after a couple rounds of advancements, it would allow a person to import text.

I wonder what the book of Genesis would sound like as music “translated” from English words vs. from Greek.  What would the Constitution sound like?  Imagine the musical-literary possibilities!  A person could compose music through written language…without knowing how to read and write musical notes (yes, I know that not all musicians and songwriters know how to read/transcribe music).

B.  A plug-in for an e-reader such that a person can modify the grammar of a text to fit his own standards or to emulate another authorial voice.  Don’t like split infinitives? No problem, go to Menu–>Text–>Modify–>Grammar–>Unsplit Infinitives and no more “to boldly go” or “to stoutly dare,” instead, you’ll be graced with “to go boldly” and “to dare stoutly.”

Do you think you’d like this chapter more if it were in first person (as is the rest of the book)? No problem, go to Menu–>Text–>Modify–>Narrator Voice–First Person.  Wonder if this Candace Bushnell conversation would sound better a la Jane Austen?  No problem, go to Menu–>Text–>Modify–>Narrative Style–>Jane Austen (or Mark Twain, HP Lovecraft, Ralph Waldo Emerson, generic Beat poet, or George Halas if you prefer).

Not a fan of adverbs? Worry not, go to Menu–>Text–>Modify–>Grammar–>Parts of Speech–>Adverbs–>Eliminate (or decrease by 25%).

C.  A non-turn signal on the roof of an automobile that a driver would flick on to let other motorists know, “I am going straight when the light turns green; I am not going to turn right or left, so stop honking and getting so close to my car that I can see the pores on your nose in my side-view mirror.”

D.  A plug-in/app/other device that would enable a person to mute, beep out, or word-swap whatever word a person wishes not to hear.  A typographical version of it exists for online discussion boards so that curse words can be automatically replaced with neutral words of the administrators’ choice.  Could researchers and developers not apply it to the aural realm outside television programming?  For example, if Sven hates the word “lactate,” he could go to this device, punch in to the relevant fields “replace ‘lactate/lactates/lactated/lactating’ with ‘granule,'” and the like.  Or, “replace ‘hefty’ with ‘le fromage” so that if someone were to say within earshot, “I cannot believe my Aunt Maggie is still lactating after all that hefty feeding session from last weekend,” Sven would hear, “I cannot believe my Aunt Maggie is still granule after all that le fromage feeding session from last weekend.”

Oh!  And just for schnaaps and giggles, Sven could “replace one/wrong, me, you, money, leave, been, feeling, and filling” with “wong, ming, yoo, monkey, lee, bean, filling, and feeling.”


6 thoughts on “Technologically Fantastical or just Unlikely?

  1. kevmoore

    I don’t know about technological firsts – but I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve seen ‘Sven’ and ‘lactate’ in the same sentence. So, you know, anything’s possible……. 🙂

    1. sittingpugs Post author

      For sure. Anything is possible but not everything is probable. And the probability of anything happening (or not happening) is 50-50. Either it does or it doesn’t. Either it is or it isn’t. ^_^

  2. sportsattitudes

    SP, you stole my line. When I was in Manufacturing Purchasing, I was constantly getting asked when something would arrive. As the years rolled on, I decided the best way to address these multiple questions from multiple sources was…”it will either be here today…or not.” Way too many things to do to expedite every single purchase from every single vendor. I actually got some people converted to my way of thinking after awhile. Part of the problem was even if I knew when something was to arrive, I never knew how long “Quality” (that’s in quotes for a reason) would need for examination and blessing. I very much would like a word-swap device, but I would give a pass to accept “lactate”…and “Sven”. 🙂

  3. Philippe

    Given the pace of computer technology (new technical information *doubles every two years*) most of the possibilities you describe will no doubt come about within the next few years.

    But, you don’t go far enough.

    How about automatic language translation? If you’re in a foreign land, say Poland, and wish to speak to a local and you don’t know Polish, you’ll speak into a translating machine which you’ll carry with you as naturally as you do your purse. By means of a voice amplifier incorporated in the translating machine, your words will be rendered automatically into perfect spoken Polish. The startled local will answer in Polish, and you’ll converse with her as naturally as if she knew perfect English.

    Such a machine will make redundant those human translators you see at meetings at the United Nations and its like. Language schools would also become redundant because no-one would need to speak a language not their own.

    Another thing I see happening is that parents who wish to give their children a competitive advantage at school and in life, will arrange to have miniaturised computer chips implanted in their childrens brains, which will turn these children into genii.

    What of human-like robots? I’ve already read of men who have female-looking robots, and prefer their company to that of real women.

    It’s only a matter of time before robots (androids?) will look so human, and be anatomically so human, that if you meet one you won’t know if it’s human or robot – although if it looks like Nicole Kidman or Dolf Lundgren it’ll more likely be a robot (android). But you still won’t know for sure.

    In this happy world, men and women will have no need of the other because everyone will simply have an anatomically-human robot (android) as a husband/wife, and which can also be custom-designed to look exactly like any desired fantasy-figure – not just Nicole Kidman or Dolf Lundgren.

    The great advantage to having a robot wife/husband is that you’ll have absolute control over it. It’ll obey all your commands, and you’ll have a remote to switch it on and off when desired. So whenever you’ve finished making love with it and wish to go to sleep, you’ll just switch it off.

    If you’re a man, your robot-wife won’t say things like, “not tonight, dear, I have a headache”, and you won’t have to give it flowers or chat it up in order to put it “In the Mood for Love” (great film, that, by the way).

    If you’re a woman, your robot-husband won’t, when in your bed, snore loudly and emit vile smells – which real men are wont to do.

    I see computer technology having a pernicious effect on the careers of film stars, because computer-animated people on screen will soon look so real, that they’ll be indistinguishable from real people on screen. Make enough films with any particular computer- animated human character, and it will become as real a person in the public mind as a real human actor. Once this happens real movie stars will be redundant, and Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston will have to get themselves real jobs.

    We live in the days of miracles and wonder……..

  4. sittingpugs Post author

    Such a machine will make redundant those human translators you see at meetings at the United Nations and its like. Language schools would also become redundant because no-one would need to speak a language not their own.

    Human translators would still be needed; the scope of their responsibilities would just be altered to serve more as “software” maintenance. Someone would still have to know multiple languages to ensure that the instantaneous translating software were performing properly. Moreover, (voice-over) actors who can speak more than one language fluently would be in higher demand.

    The great advantage to having a robot wife/husband is that you’ll have absolute control over it.

    Until it stops obeying and turns into HAL. ^_^

    I wouldn’t mind having a robot friend. I could pretend I had Hong Kong triad ties…it could follow me to make sure nobody else if following me. When I get bored, I can instruct it to go to the movies with me. It won’t make fun of my mannerisms or my modus operandi. But would that be enough? Would it be as satisfying? Would the trade-off be worth it…knowing that it wouldn’t annoy me but also not be fully able to appreciate or enjoy my company.


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