The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

I, Pandora

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Self-awareness is an interesting concept.  In the worlds of science fiction, it mostly refers to computer systems that think for themselves.  It’s a common element of futuristic literature, and is the basis for some of the hallmarks of the genre.  The Terminator series, The Matrix trilogy, 2001:  A Space Odyssey, and I, Robot among many others all revolve around the idea of a computer or robot gaining and acting upon free will.  It frequently ends badly, too, with mankind being threatened or destroyed.

It’s all speculative, of course, and fun to think about.  Until it happens in your own living room, like it did to me.

This all started two months ago when I purchased a Roku box.  Subsequently, I’ve been streaming hours of Pandora Internet Radio through my TV.  I have three stations that I play most of the time:  Madness Radio (to support my newfound love of Ska), The Smiths Radio (to respect my 80’s alternative roots), and The Who Radio (because they are the greatest band in the history of music).  The combination pretty much covers 75% of the music I love, and each represents an entirely different type of sound.  Or so I thought.

I was jamming to The Who Radio a month ago, enjoying the riffs from Who Are You? and Athena, when out of nowhere Pandora threw in The Skatalites.  I was baffled.  I checked the station to be certain, and sure enough it was The Who Radio.  I got to thinking about a through-line from The Who to The Skatalites, and all I could come up with was a sketchy connection from The Who to The Clash.  The Who was a huge influence on punk rock, and The Clash’s diverse brand of punk was a cornerstone of 80’s alternative.  They experimented with various sounds, though–they weren’t pure punk like The Ramones and The Sex Pistols; as such I think I can hear some similarities to UB40, who were Reggae.  Reggae and Ska are in the same neighborhood.

Whatever the connection, it’s pretty sketchy at best.  I ain’t no musicologist.  What is undeniable, though, is that Pandora is thinking ahead of me, figuring out stuff way before I can get my head around it.  Last month’s episode wasn’t an isolated one, either.  Two weeks later, a ska tune came across my Smiths station.  It was creepy, and I think I have cause for concern given that my TV, laptop, and iPhone all communicate with each other.  Together the unholy triumvirate could make some bad shit happen.  It looks like they’ve already started.

I’m a bit nervous even writing this on my laptop.  Maybe it’s time to dig a fallout shelter.

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Written by seeker70

April 1, 2011 at 6:27 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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