Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Occasional, Mysterious, Self-Healing Power of Technology

Today I walked out to my car, and for the first time in over a month, when I half-heartedly depressed the "unlock" button on my car remote, the doors actually unlocked. I can't account for it. For weeks when I've pressed that button, nothing's happened, forcing me to--gasp!--actually walk up and turn the key in the lock to unlock the door. As a girl who's studying the simple life in such works as Walden for my thesis, I hate to admit it, but it had annoyed me quite a bit.

(I justify my concern by saying that it wasn't so much the inconvenience that bothered me so much, but the niggling worry that since the internal trunk release also wasn't working, it could be a beginning symptom of one of those large expensive electrical problems that could cost me money I don't have. But yes, the inconvenience was also obnoxious.)

So I had nearly reconciled myself to having it checked out at some point. I had given up the hope that a mere battery for the remote would fix it. I had mourned the loss of the ability to lock and unlock my car from a hundred yards away. I had (nearly) moved on.

And today when it worked again, it was a bit, well, mysterious. My heart leapt within me with joy, and yet I was a little bit scared by the sudden resurrection of my remote. I'm still not sure what to do with it. The experience makes me understand people's fears of Artificial Intelligences and other technology developing beyond what we can handle. It's hard to know exactly how to react.

Speaking of serendipity, Saturday's "Writer's Almanac" poem--the one that just arrived in my inbox--seems an appropriate response to the delightful side of the thing, so I'll include a bit of it here:


Some days I find myself
putting my foot in
the same stream twice;
leading a horse to water
and making him drink.
I have a clue.
I can see the forest
for the trees.

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