Slobs can now optimize goofing off
WHEN it comes to procrastinating, Digital Slobs don't beat around the bush. In the "get to the point" 21st century, there's no time to waste, even when it comes to wasting time.
While Respectable People can't rest easy until everything is brought to conclusion, Slobs hold on to our unfinished business with equal intensity -- by vigorously looking for something else to do.
Like an old college buddy who's overstayed his welcome, we would actually miss our unresolved issues if we had to kick them out of our lives, be they holey socks, worn brake pads, dirty dishes or ... an old college buddy who's overstayed his welcome (don't get up, Jeff. If you need more paper plates, take the bus -- the car's on the fritz. There's extra socks in the drawer if you aren't too picky).
Also, looking at our "to-do" list through a "to-dodge" list filter really focuses the mind on what we'd rather be doing instead. This is important in the Digital Age, because between TiVo, YouTube and World of Warcraft, goof-off projects are beginning to stack up even worse than the "other kind."
So, we adapt -- we cut corners. For us, it's not "Deal or No Deal," it's "Fast Forward Until They Get to the Deal."
Fortunately, farsighted entrepreneurs understand how exhausting laziness can be. They are developing tools that vow to take all the work out of not working, handing video distractions to us on an ever-more optimized platter.
CyberLink.com, for one, has created MagicSports 3, software that analyzes your entire, epic Big Game and boils it down to a bite-size highlight-reel pupu platter.
Right now, it only works with baseball and soccer, but that's not a bad start. Vast swaths of digital channels are already devoted to NFL and NBA highlights, and artificial intelligence would have to advance far past human limits to find anything bookmark-worthy on the PGA Tour.
Taking the pain out of pleasure is fine, but what about taking the pain out of pain? Well, engadget.com reports experts are perfecting smart security monitors that can actually recognize violence.
The system being developed at the University of Texas can distinguish between "friendly" human interactions and violent ones with 80 percent accuracy (one imagines it might get as confused as a 4-year-old, however, if its camera was pointed into certain bedrooms during certain wee hours of the night).
The idea is that, in the near future, such a system will be able to rouse mall security from an all-engrossing Yahtzee tournament long enough to separate the Jessica Simpson wannabe from the Ashlee Simpson wannabe sparring over the Justin Timberlake wannabe in the Food Court before some serious plastic surgery is undone.
Perhaps CyberLink and UT could share their data, and create a video highlight filtering system for more full-contact entertainment, like boxing, the NHL and any meeting between model Naomi Campbell and her therapist.
Regardless, it's clear tech is paving the way toward making the entire circle of 21st century activities, productive or otherwise, a downhill glide in all directions.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a prior engagement. The last three episodes of "Lost" aren't going to watch themselves -- at least not yet.