December 7, 2008

Wii are not amused

I just explained to Ralf that if you want to be anyone in Blogland you have to do NaBloPoMo, which is an online forum where people sign up to blog every day for one month. He stared at me for a minute as if he couldn't remember who I was and said that if you don't have anything to say you shouldn't blog about it. He probably has a point but since I'm a new blogger I acutally use NaBloPoMo to keep my postings down to one a day as a courtesy to people who read what I write so this doesn't really apply to me. He then forbade me to blog any more.

Anyway, now that he's out of the way I can get back to work on today's blog.

On my recent flight back to California I watched Wall-e, which I expected to annoy me but was actually quite well done. I mean, I won't rush out to watch it again but it was a perfectly good in flight movie. What really caught my attention, however, was the plausible portrayal of human beings in the distant future: obese, immobile, lost in virtual reality and drifting in space after having pretty much destroyed the Earth. Ick. Even babies were packed into floating chairs that restrained their movement and hooked up to the big VR machine. It made my skin crawl, all the more because it's not that out there. Not nearly out there enough.

We are in the process of making a transformation from the information age to the information brain. I'm sure some professor out there has a better term to describe it but that's my term and if you want to see something really cool check out The Machine is Us(ing Us) on YouTube. This video shows us the beauty of the information age but there's a darker side. For example, I have to wonder what the xbox ad team is thinking when they show a smiling child from the front with a scooped out brain replaced by X Box in the back.

By the way, I see the irony of sitting in front of my computer blogging about the evils of the information age to a virtual audience.

A recent article in The Huffington Post 'Man versus Machine' examines the role computers played in the current financial crisis. It's kind of long and pedantic but has some good quotes from smart people about what it all means. And although the fault seems to lie primarily with stupid, greedy people who either failed to understand the risks or chose to ignore them because they were making money, the implication of relying on computer programs that have a billion times more processing power than you is something society may want to put more thought into.

I don't have the answers but before you run out and buy that wii for your kids I'd like to leave you with this final video that makes fun of wii and its role in modern society. It's not quite as hard-hitting as I would like it to be but the idea gets across.


  1. I don't actually think that you need to do NaBloPoMo but I understand what you mean about controlling yourself: during the election I was posting multiple times a day. And of course, NaBloPoMo only means a minimum of 1x a day--- you can post as many times as you like;)

  2. Love the video! After watching it, my 10 year old said, "My friend has a wii and he's fat!" so there you go - even the kids know they're being deprived of REAL play.
    I think I may have to post this video too!! For NaBloPoMo you understand.

  3. I could post more than once a day, but if I blow my whole wad in the first week, what will I do the rest of the month?

  4. OK--the video made me laugh, but I will confess that I love my Wii Fit! It's ridiculously well depicted in the video, but I still can't get enough of tennis, boxing, and bowling! Call the men in the white coats--I know I need help!


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