Tag Archives: culturally bankrupt

Introducing Word Lens: Yet Another iPhone app signalling the inevitable destruction of civilization as we know it

December 17, 2010


Pretty dang cool, eh? It works, too. Blew my mind when I tried it, but it also gave me pause. Am I alone in that regard?

After all, as truly ingenious an innovation as Word Lens type applications are, should it not raise at least a tiny bit of concern in the minds of users? Isn’t this trend of modern technological “lifehacking” perhaps hacking away at a bit too much now?

I mean, haven’t we begun to make life just a little too easy for ourselves? And yet this is only the beginning, and in only the smallest of microcosmic examples.

Next, of course, we’ll have ear pieces privately translating every word off a foreign tongue we’ve never known — tongues we’ll,  eventually, never care to know.

Can’t you just hear the sales pitch now?

Hi there! Aren’t you tired of having to learn some stinky foreigners’ language when you’re on your annual European getaway? Toting that pesky English-to-Spanish, English-to-French, and/or English-to-Some Language You’ve Never Heard Of dictionary around in your fanny pack is so burdensome, isn’t it?

Heck, I bet you may have even taken classes to try and learn some other culture’s language, customs, and mores, didn’t you? At least in high school, right? What a drag!

Well, today’s your lucky day…

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut

Sure, I’m leaping ahead a bit here — and perhaps not giving some of our species’ more admirable qualities enough due — but the prospect of the culturally bankrupt dystopia I allude to isn’t pure science fiction. Is it?

Having said that, I guess I do feel like picking up a good Kurt Vonnegut story right about now. Player Piano, anyone?

As a friend relayed to me regarding his display of Word Lens to a co-worker: “Nick looked like he’d just seen fire for the first time.”

Indeed, we may have a sufficiently similar reaction to fire yet again, Nick.

Thanks to The Admiral for the tip

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