That device you’re reading this on right now, it’s a machine! Whether it’s a smartphone or a tablet or a laptop, the only way you can read this right now is if you are currently reading this on a machine.
But these devices had to come from somewhere, right? Yes. These machines were built… by other machines! Yes, it took several different machines, all together inside a factory specifically made to house machines, to make that much smaller machine you have in your possession right now.
Hell, if you’re someone who likes carrying around your phone in your pocket, you have a machine in your pants right now! (Well, two machines, in certain cases, depending on the thrust of the other.) But when your pants get dirty, you need to clean them. So what do you do? You put your pants in a machine! And once it’s done in that machine, you take it out and put it in another machine!
You run your pants through two machines so that you can wear them, fresh, and place a smaller machine inside it for safe-keeping.
Now, if, say, you have an iPhone and an iMac, and you want to update the former with all the content you added to the latter, you have to connect them. That’s right, in order to get one machine working how you want it to, you have to connect it to another machine!
And those devices are only able to connect to the internet because of the wireless router you’ve installed inside your home. That’s right, yet another machine! And that machine is connected to all sorts of other sorts of machines you don’t really understand but they keep your house working and you’re satisfied with that.
And speaking of your house, you can’t possibly live in your own private domicile without the use of multiple machines. Machines for heating, machines for cooling, machines for keeping food cold, machines for making them hot again, machines for opening cans of food, machines for cooking food, machines for cleaning the things you use to help you eat your food, and hell, if you’re really serious about hygiene, a portable machine that you just stick right in your mouth.
That’s right, lots of people have electric toothbrushes, which means there are tiny little machines we feel comfortable putting in our mouths. How many other machines could we put into our mouths? Well, in theory we could put a whole lot of machines in our mouths, but only a select few of them recommend doing so.
But machines aren’t confined to your house. Every single form of transportation requires machines. Bikes, cars, buses, the subway, airplanes. All machines. And don’t say horse and buggies, ’cause those are bullshit.
There are some machines that are yours for as long as you want, but there are other machines that you only get for a limited time. The plastic gun connected to that arcade game, the computer you log onto every morning at work, that little thing they give you at restaurants to alert you when you’re tables ready, these are all our temporary machines.
…but when you think about it, all of our machines are temporary machines. We have to replace all these machines every so often. They break, they get lost or stolen, or they’re just operating on an old system and you want a machine that’s with the times.
There’s no impending rise of the machines, because the machines have already risen, and we’re totally fine with that.
[Editor’s note: Inspired by this classic.]