If you know me, then you know I’m something of a technology nerd.
Or really, to be completely honest about it, I’m the biggest nerd in the world. I love technology. I mean, love it. I always have to have the latest and greatest gadgets and devices, the newest smart things – you name it.
But now – on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2018, to be specific – it’s finally happened: Technology has come to an end. You can put a fork in it because it is done.
The tech creators who have pumped out one terrific invention after another for the last 25 years are suddenly all out of ideas, all out of great inventions. Apparently, the AirPods and the iPhone X were the last two great technological advances mankind will ever see.
I first noticed this trend of innovation dying down when the new inventions that started popping up were things like the new talking poop emojis. I realized that people weren’t really inventing anything new, but, instead, were just tweaking the old stuff in new ways. Like for instance, the iPad was actually a very cool new invention when it came out in 2010; however, when a company, AirVR, recently came up with the idea of adding strap so you could attach it to your face (see picture), it really didn’t do anything other than make it look like someone had nailed a board to your face, and that was no advance at all.
Of course, I don’t say this, about the final death of tech, lightly. I say it only because my monumental claim is backed up by the indisputable proof given the offerings of CES this year. Some people who aren’t geeks might not know what CES is, but nerds such as myself know the event very well and follow it closely each and every year. “CES” stands for the Consumer Electronics Show, and, at the very start of each year, that show takes place in Las Vegas. This is the big chance for all the tech companies and home appliance makers to show off the latest and greatest inventions and it’s their opportunity to dazzle us with the cutting-edge technology provided by modern science. These are always the inventions that will shape the future.
Or, at least, that’s been the case in the past. However, like I said, I think this technology thing has finally completely run its course, and now we’re at the end of a crossroads. We have smart phones, smart lights, smart these and smart thats. In fact, by now, we really pretty much have a “smart” everything, so it should come as no surprise that this “smart” technology, on Jan. 8, finally found itself in the toilet.
Now, when I say it’s “in the toilet,” I don’t mean that metaphorically, as in it stinks or serves no purpose. Instead, I mean it quite literally: At CES this year, technology has finally entered the bathroom toilet. In other words, the scientists have finally gone and made a smart toilet.
You know how, every morning for your entire life, you’ve walked into your bathroom and thought how nice it would be if you could converse with your toilet? Well, now you finally can. (OK, so maybe no one in the world has ever really thought that once, but please bear with me.)
Well, in Las Vegas at CES, Kohler just unveiled the new hands-free “smart toilet” – a commode that’s loaded with features and one that can do all sorts of things other than whisking away your pooh. It will, for instance, heat your seat cushion, blow warm air on your feet, provide mood lighting and play music while you are on it, not to mention that it will flush on command.
Now, even I, the techiest guy on the planet, know for a fact that I don’t need or want this latest invention, and we are just being too clever by half by inventing it. These types of things sound great until you see them in actual use. I went in the totally automated bathroom at the theater the other day and used the restroom and the “smart” toilet didn’t flush and there was no way to do it yourself. Then I put my hands under the faucet to wash them and nothing came out. When this stuff doesn’t work, it doesn’t work in a big way. I tried waiving my hands frantically under the sink but got nothing. I moved one by one to the other sinks and tried them but could get no water to come out. There were no knobs or anything to push – just a lone faucet that was supposed to turn on automatically when there were hands beneath it – so the entire row of sinks was just useless metal ovals.
Now, I guarantee you that you will get this exact same type of problem in your own home bathroom once you move to the Kohler smart toilet and products like it. One day you will need to use the toilet desperately and the motorized lid will be down, and you’ll be like, “HAL, open the toilet seat lid.”
And the toilet will be like, “I’m sorry, Dave, I can’t do that.”
You will say, “HAL, This is very serious: Open the toilet seat lid now!”
And your toilet will say, “I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that …”
You know, basically, the standard manual toilet has worked very well ever since about a century ago when they cleverly moved it indoors where it’s warm and added a nice plastic seat for you to sit on. Any variation or “improvement” on top of that (such as having the toilet play Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” while you do your business) is overkill.
Now, even though I think it is absurd, I can see why Kohler invented the smart toilet, but I cannot say the same about the Kohler smart bathroom mirror, which also made its grand entrance into the world at the 2018 CES. This is a “smart mirror” that you can talk to – just like you can talk to your toilet.
Now, I’ve had a bathroom mirror my entire life and, just as with my toilet, I have never, ever wanted to say anything to it. Even in 2018, I am absolutely fine having a totally silent mirror that has no idea what I’m saying, and I still don’t know what in the world I would say to this new smart mirror if I had one. I have zero idea what it’s supposed to do or how you can benefit by having a mirror you can talk to.
I have racked my brain and, literally, the only thing I can possibly think of to say to a mirror is, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”
And there would be no point in even asking that because I already know it’s going to say Snow White rather than me.
Listen, each morning when I get up, I barely want to look in the mirror, so I certainly don’t want to talk to it or have it start talking to me and then hear it go on and on about how much prettier Snow White is than I am.
We don’t need all this new stuff! I mean, they have a smart device this year for everything but the kitchen sink.
What’s that you say? At CES this year they actually do have a smart kitchen sink too??
Really. Yes, you can say to the sink, “Give me 12 ounces of water at 40 degrees,” and it will give that to you. (Or, if it is using Siri, it will give you 12 ounces of butter and tell you where you can buy dungarees with a 40-inch waist.)
The toothbrush is another bathroom item that works just fine as it is and a device that they should just leave alone, but instead they have now “gamified” it using virtual reality in order to get your child to brush his or her teeth more.
The game, called the Magik Mirror, requires the kid turn on the phone’s selfie camera to begin. The child can then see virtual reality monsters in their mouth that they attack with the toothbrush. CNET.com described it this way: “While brushing their teeth, they fight an evil monster in the app, who is bent on spreading cavities across the land.”
This may or may not help encourage your kid to brush his or her mouth thoroughly, but now you will go to your dentist and the dentist will say, “Your son has no cavities, however, I’m afraid his mouth is full of dead monsters.”
Speaking of kids, another new invention that came out – but that we absolutely don’t need – is a “Bluetooth enabled baby poop monitor.” This new device uses high tech moisture sensors to alert you that your baby’s diaper needs changing.
Uh, hello? We have something for that – it’s called crying.
That time-tested current method is free and requires no battery or Bluetooth pairing.
Here’s all you need to know: Is the baby crying? Feed it. OK, you’ve fed it. Is it still crying? OK, then it’s the diaper.
I don’t need a Tektronix moisture-calibrated flux capacitor sensor to tell me it’s time to change a diaper. Look, with babies it’s pretty easy, right? It’s either one of two things. If you feed it and it doesn’t stop crying then you know what it needs without seeing a text message to that effect on your iPhone.
Come on, guys, is this really what progress looks like? I don’t think so.
If you’re not convinced so far that we are at the end of the technology road, there was another clear signal at CES that technology is done. In fact, it was even a crystal clear sign from God.
You know what happened at CES this year? They lost power due to torrential rains. In the middle of the Mojave Desert.
God has used floods before and this time they were just lucky all He wanted to do only wanted to turn the power off.
God shut the show down. He was just like, “What have you done with My wonderful creation? Feet-warming music-playing toilets? Talking mirrors? Bluetooth diaper detectors?” I feel quite certain that the flood and power outage was God saying to the tech world, “You’re all washed up.”