Thursday, March 13, 2003

Ages Meet

Two old boys at the automatic teller machine tonight. One trying to help the other one get money out of the wall. The one whose money it is will not operate the machine and the one who will seems to be unable to read the instructions and buttons on the teller machine. Both of them were in their seventies, wearing the reindeer skin boots, trousers and thick jackets and caps of those that spend both summer and winter out in the forest up here. It was as if to witness the collision of two ages. The electronic banking world (which seems to be the one taking over) and the nomadic reindeer herders of 9000 years ago. Eventually, after about 10 minutes of confusion the young girl standing in front of us and behind the two nontech forest folk helped them out with the ritual of the bank machine and they withdrew what looked like several thousand kronor (8.95 kronor equals $US1). They then wandered off into the melting snow and darkness of an early Spring night. I thought it was interesting having read in an Australian newspaper this week that it has been proposed by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia that within five years they will have electronic cash machines which read the iris patterns of users. In the film Minority Report, acording to one of my teachers, an eye is stolen from somebody just for the purpose of an iris scan. Are we becoming more like the machines or are they become more like us?

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