Getting deprogrammed

The machines get too smart - pushing their inventors, the humans, into lives of subservience and lots of gray clothing. It's a common plotline in science fiction movies, whether starring Arnold or Keanu.

A common complaint these days is that as the technology gets smarter and more pervasive, its hold on our lives increases as well. Fortunately we are still a long way from needing rebel armies to thwart the Blackberry enslavement.

Despite common complaints of Tivopression (will I ever watch that first episode of Rome?), on-demand media is one innovation that will free viewers and listeners from the oppressiveness of linear audio and video. This hit home for me about ten years ago, while listening to an Adobe executive (Bryan Lamkin, I think) speak at a conference in San Francisco. He described a visit to his mother. They're sitting in the kitchen catching up, when mom glances at her watch and strolls over to turn on the radio. Within ten seconds the weather report airs. She then turns off the radio, comes back over and resumes the conversation.

I always think back to that story when passing judgment on the next new thing that has come to market. The best innovations are those that enrich our lives without unnecessarily complicating them. I wonder if Bryan's mother has switched to a weather podcast? Probably not, but I bet she's bookmarked