# of pages written: 5 (but I probably won’t use any of them)
# of times I’ve checked email/facebook: 3
# of days left to write 1st draft: 157
Yesterday Nikki came home and announced that machines are going to succeed humans on earth. “Like in WALL-E?” I asked her.
“Yes, I guess so.”
We had been talking a few days ago about how eventually the earth will expunge us and enter into some new age, just like it did with the dinosaurs and those giant armadillos from the age of mammals. Species go extinct all the time, and humans are no exception. I actually find this to be quite a comforting thought. When I worry about the atrocities we humans are doing to the earth, I just remember that the earth is a lot bigger and more powerful than us, and eventually it will find a way to kill us off, whether it be by global warming or catastrophic weather events. The earth will enter into a different phase and different types of creatures will flourish, like cockroaches, or those crazy giant worms that can live in toxic ocean vents at the bottom of the sea. People who plead “save the earth” really just mean “keep the earth human-friendly.” I, on the other hand, realize we won’t be here forever.
So Nikki thinks that after the age of humans the earth will enter into the the age of machines. Heck, we might be at the very beginning of the age of machines already. In a few more hundred years, we will have trashed the earth and either died or gone elsewhere, and the machines we’ve left behind will gain consciousness and live on.“I think there have been a bunch of science fiction novels about this already,” I told Nikki. I used to think the notion sounded crazy. Now, I’m not so sure.
It’s kind of terrifying to me what machines can do and how connected we are to our machines. I’m afraid of how much time I spend on the Internet, and how much the Internet knows about me. It used to be that people wanted to write books or make art, at least in part, because they wanted to leave something behind that would live on after they died. But now, with the Internet, everyone leaves something of themselves behind, and it’s not exactly prestigious. Once you put something on the web, it never goes away. A book is something that you’ve spent time shaping and revising, making as perfect as possible before you present it to the world for posterity. But your comments on facebook? Your daily blog that contains (probably) a lot of typos? That’s going to live on forever, too. And I’m not sure how I feel about that. Technology scares me.
On another note, today was my last day tutoring Sergiy. Tomorrow he and his family are heading back to New York. I was sad. It’s the end of the age of Sergiy. I gave him a card I made, and he told me, “you made my week.” I had taught him “you made my day” on our first lesson, and it made my day that he had remembered the phrase.
Today Sergiy and I talked about facebook. He doesn’t understand why Americans use it so much. “In Russia, everyone is introverted. Everyone keeps their thoughts inside. Here, people tell everything to everyone.”
“It’s true,” I said. “It worries me sometimes. I’m worried that we’re all becoming too vain. Or facebook is just feeding our naturally vanity. We think that everyone cares what we’re doing at every moment. We’re constantly saying ‘hey, look at me, look at where I’m going, look at how much fun I’m having.’”
What I didn’t say to Sergiy is that I worry about my own vanity. I also worry about my own dependence on the Internet, and technology in general. I worry about how it’s changing the way I think, the way I behave.
Today I also taught Sergiy the phrase “keep in touch.” “It doesn’t mean you have to touch the person,” I said, patting my own arm. “It can mean, let’s keep in touch by email, by phone, by facebook. Let’s still communicate sometimes.”
“Technology touching,” Sergiy says with a laugh.
When we left the library today, we promised to keep in touch. “I’ll send you the link to my blog,” I told him. “And let me know how things go in New York.”
“Yes. Of course I will.”
In the old days, before the Internet, we probably wouldn’t have kept in touch, Sergiy and I, but now I think it’s very possibly we will. Email has made these sorts of connections much easier. So I guess technology isn’t all bad. Without the Internet, I never would have met Sergiy at all. And now, this documentation of our time together will live on in the minds of the machines that will rule the earth when all the humans are long gone.