Machine of the year


We put a five-dollar bill in, and got a quarter back. Green. Go. No toll booth collector.

Just a machine. Just like you would find at laundromat, or car wash.

Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy. Its video rental machines don’t seem to catch up with Red Box and Netflix. Netflix doesn’t seem to catch up with Hulu. Hulu won’t catch up with Google TV.

Soon we will need to vote, not for Man of the Year as TIME has, but for Machine of the Year.

This machine has to pass the most stringent of tests i.e. most conveniently placed (such as ATM machines in the casino), take dollar bills on user’s first trial, and always spit out mint coins.

I prefer to vote for machine that says “Thank You”.

After all, I have a choice to walk away, and not to give it any business.

Besides, there are competing machines nearby.

To enter the “labor” workforce, machines should pay FICA.

In case you haven’t noticed, we can go through a day without interacting with human

(see my other blog on Machine and Me) just as someone’ s comment that one can walk through Little Saigon in Westminster, CA for a full day without a word in English.

I have nothing against the machine. Only when it refuses to take my crumbled dollar bills.

Machines at the Home Depot are more advanced. Wal-Mart’s also.

I don’t know about the ones at airport from which one can buy Tampon, I pod and perfume.

Coca Cola is beta-ing a coke mixing machine, from which you can select your coke flavor.

Hence, it seeks to turn consumers into chemists.

Ice cream making machines at rest areas championed this trend a while ago.

When America gets on the road, it will have to live with coffee machine, ice cream machine, coke machine, toll collecting machine, gas station cash machine, microwave oven, fridge, TV, desktop, stereo, A/C, heater, hot-water dispenser, dishwasher etc.. That is why I propose TIME magazine to start changing its annual issue, from Man of the Year, to Machine of the Year. Vote for one which learns how to say Thanks.  Air stewardess don’t even bother to perform “human function” i.e. expressing gratitude to customers who foot the bills. It’s the Captain and pre-scripted Thanks which we hear nowadays.

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