Those of you who use MS Word know its trick of guessing what you’re writing, then either a) sending that annoying Mr. Monitor in to “help,” or b) giving you the option of saving a few keystrokes by finishing the word for you. The first one gets on my nerves; I know how to write a damn letter, thanks so much. But the second is sort of cool, since it’s non-intrusive, although I type fast enough that by the time I’ve noticed it’s offering to fill in the rest of “November” for me, I’m already done.
Today, hunting and pecking in Russian, I started to write the word “Sunday,” and what do you know? I got as far as “Boc” and yowzah, there it was: “Bockpecene” (with the myaky znak that belongs after the n, of course), hovering over the text. Why, thanks, Mr. Gates — always happy to let you finish that one for me.
I thought of that, wandering the high-tech wonders of the Media Union today. Not being much of a sci-fi reader, my first ideas about what technology might do for us came from “1984.” I feared a world of two-way telescreens and Big Brother and lovers creeping away to a grove of saplings, none big enough to hide a microphone. And look what’s happened? It’s almost 180 degrees different. Technology puts power in the hands of people more than governments, makes our lives easier and safer in a million ways. Ninety-nine cent album tracks you can pick and choose, a video-editing program so cheap it came bundled free on my laptop, the world as close as an e-mail address. And it finishes my words. Wonders upon wonders.
P.S. Yes, I know I will be singing a different tune when the aging iMac eats my screenplay four pages from its conclusion. Just let me go with it for now.