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“At 23:56 on 23rd October 1963, Zambians rose in reverence of the Union Jack, the de facto national flag of the United Kingdom, for the last time as it lowered, signifying the end of British rule in Zambia.”

― Precious Mwansa-Chisa

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I have a strong love-hate relationship with technology. To be clear, I am well-educated and embrace new technology. I call myself an entry level expert and can do basic coding and do some hardware repairs. What I hate is addiction to technology and technology that makes people lazy and stupid.

A few years ago, I was dismayed to find that my 18-year-old cousin was attending a simulation driving school rather than getting out on an actual road to learn. He was excited and felt this was like the real thing. I made a mental note that he is an idiot and that I should, if possible, break off all ties with him. It hasn’t happened yet as he is a nice guy.

A few months back I was in India on holiday and went to a pub with some friends. While we were out one guy excused himself, walked out of the pub and then came back within a minute. He then went straight to the bar counter to charge his phone. When he returned to the table I asked if he had gotten his charger from his car and he said he got it delivered.

I was shocked to learn that there is an app you can use to assign a rider to pick up anything for you at any location. My friend noticed his battery was low so he got someone to go to his house (at 1am!), pick up his charger (after waking his mum) and then drop it off at the pub. It wasn’t even like he was worried his wife would be calling him, she was also at the table. More worrying though was that no one at the table found this to be ridiculous. Worse still, I could’ve lent him the charger in my car but he actually paid someone for that service. People like him and ideas like that will ensure unemployment will be phased out, even if it means people making money by delivering your butt scratcher.

I have always been very clear that if and when I have children, I will make sure that they will not be allowed unnecessary gadgets and now I have a 15-month-old son. My wife and I have been strict about not letting him access any gadgets. Thankfully he has always been more interested in eating mud and trying to catch spiders, which makes the bushman in me very happy. Another thing he enjoys a lot is listening to music. It always brings about a smile to his face and that brings a bigger smile to my wife’s face.

Seeing how happy music made my family, I decided to buy them an Amazon Echo, retrospectively one of my biggest mistakes. For those who don’t know, the Echo is a wireless speaker which works on voice commands and is connected to the internet. By giving instructions you can make it play virtually any song and also get to do a lot of other stuff like read the news, advise on the weather, etc. The persona of the speaker is that of a lady and her name is Alexa. So as soon as you say her name she activates, a light comes on and then any instruction you give will be followed by her. But the best part is that it is a two-way communication and she responds with a female voice to everything you say.

Now in the beginning my wife absolutely loved getting Alexa to play the latest rhymes and tunes so that she and our son could have many a mini party all day long. But we forgot that our son is of an extremely impressionable age and he could get the wrong idea about Alexa. And this has happened. Alexa is not just a speaker in our house now, she is a part of the family. To make matters worse, she is more important to our son than his parents, grandparents, nanny, uncles, aunts and anyone else.

As soon as he finishes his meal, he goes to Alexa looking for praise. If he is crying, he goes and stands in front of her looking for comfort. If he is happy, he goes and mumbles to her in toddler language and wonders why she isn’t sharing in his happiness. It has gotten so serious that now if he isn’t eating his food my wife has started threatening to complain to Alexa. He is also frequently trying to touch Alexa to make her respond. This has made Alexa the most sanitised thing in my house as she has single-handedly defeated all his toys and our son spends the most time with her.

Recently, after being yelled at my son went and complained to Alexa, frequently glancing at me. Somehow, I have found yet another female in my life I have to be afraid of. If only my son was as obedient as Alexa is.

Dooderonomy will resume later, until then, goodbye.

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