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OPINION: Machines taking over the world

Monday 13 June 2022 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Opinion

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OPINION: Machines taking over the world
Ruta Tangiiau Mave. Photo: CI NEWS

The world of travel has markedly changed, somewhat like it did after September 11 which started the security checks of shoes, belts and the removal of sharp objects or anything over 100ml, writes Ruta Mave.

Our borders are open, people can travel and after two years of hibernation everyone is dusting off their roller suitcases and passports. They’re finding old airplane lolly wrappers and exclaiming, “what’s this, my passport has expired? When did that happen?  Never mind I’ll just get a new one no worries”. Now they want to travel, to see family, a doctor, a new place, or to take a team to Australia for athletics.

Unfortunately, instead of the 10-day process, it’s now ‘29 working days’ or in reality a five to seven week wait. Gee whiskers and travel visas are on the same slow train to Georgia. The flights also can’t be booked until travel is confirmed which looks like being on hold for four hours while watching the price climb $100/hour – faster than a telethon counter – then poof, they are gone. The flights are no longer available, not even for business class, everyone wants to go to the Gold Coast, because winter is coming…

No more ‘easy-peasy’ go online book a cheap fare ‘outta’ here at the drop of a hat. The world of travel has markedly changed, somewhat like it did after September 11 which started the security checks of shoes, belts and the removal of sharp objects or anything over 100ml.  

Today it has changed irrevocably in health and data declarations and it won’t be changing back either. Less direct routes mean transit – you used to check for rats under the bed in some transit rooms, now you are given a RAT test.

Online declarations are fine if it’s only one but for a dozen if you aren’t up to speed with technology, it’s laborious the amount of data and details needed to arrive into our neighbourhood countries. Once completed you can relax until you receive an email on your departure day that says its incomplete – but with no indication of what you have to re-enter. Gut churning stuff when all eyes are on you if it fails.

The most dehumanising part of this process is proving you are a human and not a robot. I get the why of it but it has a way of gas lighting you and making you question yourself being a human. They don’t test humanity like kindness or apposable thumbs or emotional intelligence, no it’s quite robotic. Ticking the box, I am not a robot is easy, then after several rolls of the wheel a series of photos pop up with the caption ‘tick the squares with traffic lights in them’. I tick the boxes and verify, up pops another set of photos – which means I got some wrong the first time like many humans. This time its crosswalks so off I go, tick-tick verify, whirl wait and ping another set of squares, are you kidding me? Where did I go wrong, am I Alva or Eva? Who knows and who cares I have ten more declarations to declare and this is what I am destined to do forever to prove myself human?

I can attest hitting the screen and screaming which seems very human to me but doesn’t seem to compute with the computer. So, I search for chimney’s and wait with baited breath and phew I’m human and able to confirm I am not a robot. It had me worried there.

Buckets of sweat later and number seven of these blessed declarations – blessed because I have yelled amen a few times when I got past the traffic lights in one attempt – I’m now feeling like a robot hitting the tick continue repeat, repeat.

When I thought I must be one of the three blind mice I happened upon the help button, and got to speak with Olive. I could ask her questions and she would answer and direct me. At the end of the session, they have the gall to ask you “did you find her helpful?” Well, yes, I managed to pass the robot test then I asked “Olive are you a human or a robot?”  Her helpful reply was “I am a robot”. Can you believe this? A robot judges me to see if I am a human by giving me an idiotic robotic test to pass. What an upside-down world we live in.

This is what Sarah Connor warned us about in Terminator and Skynet – machines taking over the world and the eventual downfall of humans.