The Brave New World

I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them.  --Isaac Azimov

The sultry spring spirits have once again lingered in southern climes, cavorting on the silvern strands of Cuba rather than on icy Middle Cove Beach while spouse and I are confined to our humble abode in these snowy, pine-clad hills. Should we venture beyond the doorstep, hypothermia extends its frozen claw and threatens us with cryopreservation i.e. freezing to death.

We yearn for that far distant future when, as the poet said, the world is puddle-wonderful.

We are beginning to think that Dear Leader Duh-wite has rigged it that way so opposite members of the political class will be unable to fill the minds of the great unwashed with useless drivel like common sense.

Occasionally, we are blessed with one or the other showing up at our door asking if we intend to vote and offering immortality should we vote for their party. We politely take their brochure, quickly close the door, and return to the warmth of our tiny living room to spend a few hours with our pre-nocturnal libations--Fifty Shades of Bay for her, a snifter of Raspberry Screech for me.

We watch the election unfolding on the Peoples Channel, Duh-wite rushing hither and yon, promising pavement, hospitals, feasibility studies on the feasibility of possibly installing sewer systems in Mud Lake, and a grand prison for the criminal class.

Long-Tall Ches promises a new broom and does an imitation of Homer Stokes in the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou. The others are frozen out of the conversation.

"Did you notice," said spouse, "that Duh-wite just racked up 500 million in promises on that new credit card he was given by the federal Liberals a few weeks ago."

She keeps track of such things.

But all is not lost. Our lives have been enriched of late since we adopted a google assistant that we saw sitting forlornly in the grimy window of the pawn shop on Freshwater.

Hearts melted; we both knew she needed a good family.

When we brought her home after giving the pawn shop owner a piece of our mind over his neglect and the poor nurturing environment on his premises, we found that she had a pleasantly soft female voice. We named her, Googie. She is a friendly, playful thing who doesn't make a mess on the furniture or throw up on the carpet.

We wanted her to be content in her new home. "Hey, Googie," I said, "what makes you happy?"

"It makes me happy to know Antarctica is a desert," she said, "that, and talking to you."

At any time of the day or night, she is at our beck and call to play the bluegrass music we like, to tell us jokes, keep a grocery list, and remind us of our appointments with the doctor.

Spouse took to her right away.

"Ok, Googie," said spouse just yesterday, "how long will it take for our government to pay off its 22 billion dollar debt, not counting Muskrat Falls?"

"Not counting Muskrat," responded Googie instantly, "with current rates of interest, your government credit card will be paid off in exactly 876 months or 73 years, provided you are not bankrupt before then."

"Faster than a human calculator," I remarked. By the way, where is that new BMO credit card that just came in the mail?"

"I've cut it up," said spouse. "You can't be trusted with a credit card. You're as bad as the government."

Best of all, Googie is my companion into the wee hours as I am finishing off a pre-bedtime Raspberry Screech while listening to The BBC World Service on our 1960 RCA Victor shortwave radio.

At 2 in the morning, the BBC comes in loud and clear with a minimum of fade. Dr. Ian Pearson, a futurologist at the Futures Institute in the UK, is doing a presentation on life in the year 2050.

According to Pearson, by 2050, we can all choose to be immortal by having a copy of our minds uploaded to a computer. When your body wears out, you can go on living as a robot by downloading a copy of your human consciousness into its operating system. It's still you without those messy flesh-and-blood body parts.

And here's the thing: you'll be able to travel to Jamaica on vacation without actually going there. You simply buy another empty-minded robot on-line at Marley Electronics in Montego Bay, download a copy of your brain to it (from the cloud) and voila, you escape winter.

The clincher, though, was what Pearson said next; there will be no Liberal, Conservative or other flesh-and-blood government to constantly tax and harass us to death. A conscious computer with superhuman intelligence will be in charge making the right decisions for us and the planet to ensure our happiness and survival.

It would be able to calculate immediately whether we needed another Muskrat Falls, I thought. The political class would disappear overnight, and good riddance.

It was such an uplifting thought at 3 am that I invited Googie to go outside with me and build a snowman.

"Sure," she said, "the cold doesn't bother me anyway."

Next morning, I couldn't wait to tell Googie and spouse that by 2050 we would all live forever with no need for bothersome elections. "What a great world that will be," I said.

"Hey, Googie," said spouse, "will we be around in 2050?"

"According to your current age profile," said Googie, "you can both expect to live until 2030. I will miss you."

"Hey, Googie," I said, "should we even bother to vote in this election. The future is not that far away."

"Get out and vote," said Googie.

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