If these are signs of the future awaiting us, we’d better brace ourselves for a weird future. Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, for instance, if ill-selected, may turn us into madcaps!
Humanity, let’s be careful how we go about working with these technological mug’s games.
Maybe you’ve heard of this Japanese hotel that’s equipped with 24-hour room attendants that are not your everyday living and breathing humans but chattering robots at your beck and call.
Want a cup of hot coffee? Yes, Sir or Madam, whichever gender you’ve chosen to be, with Robot-doctor’s assistance, in case you were unhappy with your Nature/God-given one.
Or you are bearer of an undisciplined pot (beer) belly and can’t tie your shoe-laces like Ba-giti-mu-jisho; or want socks from your suitcase; curtains drawn; shirt iron-pressed; call a Uber taxi; anything? Your word is Robot’s command. All you command, Robot’ll do it pronto.
If you are given to sonorous slumbering sounds, however, woe betide thee!
It’s fine if you cough, sneeze or even discourteously belch in your wakefulness and Robot says: “Sorry, Sir, I didn’t catch that!”
However, imagine you are in a deep but snoring sleep. You make a racket breathing in, a thunderous burst of breathing out or whoop it up when breaking the wind. Poor you, the “Sorry, Madam, I didn’t catch that!” you receive at every sound will be loud enough to wake up the dead.
So, brother/sister, when will you enjoy your blissful, though involuntarily rowdy, sleep?
Luckily, as Banyarwanda say, “Itera inzara, Ikerekana n’ aho bahahira” (“When the God of Rwanda brings famine here, He’ll offer accessible bumpy harvest elsewhere”). The English equivalent, attributed to Alexander Graham Bell: “When one door closes, a window opens.”
Remember Bell of the telephone invention? Where he now lies in peace, he must be intrigued seeing how his telephone door opened the wonder “window” of mobile phone technology.
But I digress. We were on a related but different “bumper harvest”. And you might’ve read about it, too.
It’s about some Chinese wizards who’ve created a “smartphone application that allows users to see if they are within 500 metres of a person in debt so they can report” them.
Well, personally I wouldn’t relish that, what with these Shylock friends who’ve loaned me a dime or two when I was hard up. Add to that the mean bank and RRA bailiffs and you’ll understand the loathing I harbour for the predicament this app portends.
Still, this app that has been dubbed “a map of deadbeat debtors” is a godsend to us as Rwandans. As I see it, a wee bit modified, this marvel of an app can catapult us to the unique position of top country in the world that’s totally devoid of corruption.
Uti how? We shouldn’t be content to hold the trophy for only the East African region, third place in Africa or languishing in 48th position in the world (per TI 2018 report). Moreover, in only least corrupt countries because no single country is totally free of corruption.
That coveted total cleanliness, we can clinch it and the following is how.
Our modified app will be “a map of deadbeat corruption-rogues” and it’ll flash on your smartphone screen the moment you are within 500 metres of a culprit.
Imagine it. In your walking exercise along our increasingly ubiquitous clean-sidewalks, your phone flashes and then you see “deadbeat corruption-rogue!” Immediately, you press that red button on our increasingly ubiquitous roadside camera-posts and hasten your pace to catch up with the panting Reebok-track-suited offender to initiate idle talk.
By the way, I’ve been reliably wised up that among those cameras atop the post, one is an ‘eye’ that’ll rotate and follow and fix on you in any direction, the moment you press the button. It’s thus that, during your idle talk, sirens will converge on you and your bewildered interlocutor.
The rest, as the cliché goes, will be history for the corruption-rogue and his day in court.
The same fate will befall the fat cat in his/her monstrous four-wheel drive who rushes by, the moment you get their plate identification and pinch a toll-free telephone number.
So, our recalcitrant public-fund gobblers, mujya he? The spotlight will be upon thee and there will be no place to hide!
Those incorrigibly villainous elements in the judiciary, traffic police and, especially, the local leadership and others always on our leaders’ lips, your days of swallowing our tax-payer’s sweat with impunity are numbered.
Our top leadership, rest your vocal cords and get your sleep. We, citizens of this land, will buzz the offenders into mending their ways. And shall we enjoy it, or shall we!
All it’ll need is for an investor to erect a factory in Kigali’s Special Economic Zone that’ll mass-produce low-priced smart phones. So low-priced and, on top of that, subsidised that as almost all citizens can afford Mutuelles community health insurance, so will they, the smart phone.
Phone name? “Gotcha!” American for “I’ve got you!” But as “Mutuelles” is “mitwere” in Kinyarwanda, so will “Gotcha” be “Gaca”, following the American sound of “o”.
Robotics, rest your case for now. Vive our Gaca!
The views expressed in this article are of the author.