McGregor Says: Back to the future

Our columnist looks ahead to the coming year and sees no point in getting ahead of himself

At the start of each New Year we see the soothsayers, fortune tellers and crystal ball gazers re-appear to prognosticate on what we can expect for the next 12 months.

They all try to get time on TV or space in the newspaper because it’s the only time of the year for them to predict good things or doom and gloom.

One gentleman, a futurist, got my attention presenting his views on where society was headed and was demonstrating some new gadgets and innovative ideas that apparently are going to be part of our way of life sooner than later.

As I watched and listened I had to shake my head and refute his claims that his ideas were futuristic.

He spoke about ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and robotics as if they were new words.

Over the years I have run into plenty of artificial intelligence around meeting tables, in the stands at sporting events or in many one on one encounters.

What about affluent people getting into arguments over a bucket of salt? They own expensive homes and while watching the snow fall, they appear intelligent, but they are not.

We’ve all shaken our heads at the guy in the stands yelling at kids, coaches, referees and umpires. When he is spouting off rules or addressing calls with inaccurate information at the top of his voice, he has given away the fact that his intelligence is indeed artificial.

As far as robots, they have been all around us for quite a while now. We see them with ear buds in their ears controlling their thoughts as they walk, zombie-like, down the street.

His next item was the revelation that we will soon see driver-less vehicles on the road.

I have seen driver-less vehicles on the road for years. They often pass me on the right and, with no signal, they cross three lanes of traffic to get to the left hand turn lane. Surely, no one can be driving that vehicle.

The last three weeks I have seen a few driver-less SUVs or 4X4s lying on their side in the snow-covered medians. Convinced they could travel at high rates of speed on the ice, their vehicles are there but the drivers are nowhere in sight. See the previous paragraphs on artificial intelligence.

Next he showed a Star Trek type medical scanner that can be passed over a person’s body and tell all sorts of things like blood pressure, blood sugar levels or even their mood.

Then it will give tips on how to remedy these issues.

This not new. For as long as I can remember my Mother can do a 30 second scan of my body and tell me if I’ve gained weight, or if I need a haircut. One look in my blood shot eyes and I’m not getting enough sleep, and a ruddy complexion means by blood pressure is up and if my voice is ‘nasally’, I’m coming down with something. Her remedy for all these things is to be sure I’m keeping regular.

Nothing is new, it’s just repackaged and given a new name. I once thought of becoming a psychic, but I could see no future in it.

Eat healthy, stay happy, you have a great life ahead. At least that’s what McGregor says.