By: Shefali Tripathi Mehta
An international food giant is launching a face scanner that will tell us what we’d like to eat! Soon they might put a beeper on tables/ plates/ cutlery/ wall that would go twice if you liked your food and buzz hysterically if you thought it was gruel.
My worry is that, I won’t be able to tell Mrs Patel that her stone-hard dahiwadas are delicious and I’m really not drinking so much water to swallow them but to create place for her stone-hard idlis that are to follow.
The viper software does not bite; it catches plagiarised content like a boa constrictor. A new software will let publishers know how many copies of your book got sold. So think before claiming three reprints. They know it was 97 copies.
As a nine-year-old, I confessed all my crimes — cutting the tablecloth with Papa’s shaving blade, polishing off the last four laddos, sneaking out into the garden during Mummy’s siesta. All because the writing on the wall filled me with dread. Satyug aane wala hai, I read during every train journey.
It was written in big, sure, red letters on walls all along the railway tracks. Satyug will come and Kalyug, into which we are born and are living, will be annihilated. But the burden of the honest life got a bit much. I surrendered to the good times of Kalyug. Till the writing emerged fresh again, now. I have no visions of any avatars descending among us. But, fast catching up on the trail of dishonest, deceitful living is technology (tech).
Technology is steadily putting the fear of the expose into us. Either tech will tell or tech-enabled sting will! Those who are caught and shamed would be our striking examples. We will be forcefully upright and before we can say holy corruption, Satyug will be upon us. The kaanta lagaa that is stinging nepotism, bribery, lies, and hypocrisy of people in high places today, and allowing us to hear and know the decibel of the sneeze of a country’s premier, and watch another’s shoe ducking expertise, will bring ‘upliftment’ when it percolates to the mango man’s life.
‘Anti-privacy’ activists wearing cellophane would demand total transparency in private life. It would be mandatory for each person to declare what they earned, colour of their socks, their dye/agarbhatti brand, if they picked their nose in public, as ‘info’ on their social networking page.
Kids who have their breakfast outside, presumably waiting for the school bus but actually feeding the bournvita-fied milk and unidentifiable shreds of omelette to plants in the garden would be forced to eat as tech-fitted plants will protest against the force feeding.
Now it’s just close-circuit cameras in convenience stores that catch shoplifters and spyware on phones by suspecting couples. Soon, if someone plucked a flower from a public garden, his hands would turn red with the help of a spy-camera-enabled-remote-dye-sprayer. Time was when if you bunked office to watch a cricket match, the chance of being caught was only if the boss was doing the same. If caught on TV camera, because your tri-colour wig was too conspicuous to be missed, you could still say it wasn’t you.
But soon you might be compelled to take a lie detector test that you agreed to on joining. Deny that? They have the clip! Watching a movie at work? Chances are that the boss has your screen replicated on his own comp and he’s quiet only because he likes your choice in films.
Jump a queue and alarms will go off. Pinch a library book and the next time you enter the library, the gates will beep ‘thief, thief!’ Sneak out without paying the bill at a restaurant and a laser will print ‘I owe Indian Coffee House Rs 53‘ at the back of your shirt.
So, unless being shamed in public becomes a status symbol like an IT raid, Satyug is upon us.