View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Wednesday, May 28, 2003
So, we're wrapping up the MIS course here in business school, and we're taking a look at the future technologies. For some reason, when discussing biological interaction, the professor brings up the iNax toilet, which will, should you choose, invade your internals and report your blood pressure, alcohol content, temperature, and who knows what else. This is scary. Oh, sure. You're probably thinking what all those authors of 1950's science fiction had in mind: robots serving drinks and doing the laundry; automatic mixing of you high-blood pressure medication with the drinking water; Mom and Dad interrupting their argument over his affair and her make-up to run upstairs at the silent alarm that says Timmy's at 102. Right.

You and I both know this is going to fall into the hands of Madison Avenue. The toilet at the Gap is going to weigh you and give you a lifetime pass to the Big 'n' Tall store. The toilet at Tommy Thompson's (or maybe Samuel Hirsch's) Starbuck's will measure your cholesterol, and refuse to charge your Starbuck's card for that Caramel Macchiato. And that's nothing compared to what Nanny Bloomburg's going to come up with. The toilet at the bar will cut off your charge card after 3 beers, or deactivate the car keys.

Apparently, these are all the rage in Japan. Japan, as you enter your second decade of recession, don't you have anything better to do with your time? Maybe not. Or maybe Japan's export-driven economy is in the crapper, so to speak, because, like Dr. Faust, they've allowed their imaginations to sink to the level of parlor-tricks.

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