Friday, 6 December 2013

Man versus the machine

You may have noticed that many films that have come out of Hollywood of late all seem to be futuristic often man fighting the machine that we seem to have invented or made ourselves.  Iron Man 3, Pacific Rim, Robocop 4, even some of an extreme destructive nature such as Oblivion. Mind you I am not very interested in seeing these types of science-fiction films nevertheless I have suddenly become intrigued by what message this is giving us toward our everyday lives.
 
The other day I wondered into the supermarket. As I had reached the counter, the lady at the cashier almost fell apart. Whilst I was paying and started thanking her, I asked if everything was alright. She responded that it was sometimes very tough to be in this chair and simply not to be recognised. She mentioned that typically most customers, who pay, are for example very busy on the mobile phone, impatient and pay no attention to her. She apologised in that it was sometimes very difficult. Then she shouted out ‘I exist!’

Two weekends ago, I took the Eurostar from London to Brussels, and in the newsagent, when purchasing a newspaper of some sort at the cashier, to my bewilderment I was paying a machine. In this particular case it was not working very well. Perhaps it was due to my lack of understanding when scanning and touching the screen as I could not talk to it, nor ask questions nor could I thank it needless to say, it did not have a name. In my predicament, a supervisor finally turned up and offered his assistance. Seeing my frustration, he added that this is where it’s going now. He cursed the large corporations that they were just simply seeking business. Quite frankly as a customer I cannot see any added value. I would have to see it as a simple case of profit before humanity.

Perhaps we have all been guilty of the initial example I have given. I have learnt that most of the time in my change, it is the small things that matter in life. To thank the person and to treat him or her with dignity. A simple smile can mean the world as their job at times can be mundane. All human beings at all levels deserve recognition. It is these details that if we take for granted could have such devastating consequences. Is this an example of some businesses scavenging for any opportunity at the expense of humanity’s suffering? Or is it a case of man’s direct conflict with the machine? Now I understand clearly what message Hollywood is now giving us. Our hope is we can change to avoid this type of fatalistic future of the human condition that the film industry is projecting. And we must try to change!

Respect is dignity for all

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