Maybe it has happened to you. Or perhaps it only affects ultra-early risers. I’ll be in the middle of typing a blog post when a notice appears on my computer screen that my laptop will be shutting down in a few seconds for an upgrade. Now, if you’re caught up in the strengthening chain of thinking that develops while you’re writing, you may take a little while to react to this new information. If you don’t respond quickly enough, your computer simply quits and it will be several minutes—sometimes an hour or more—before you can pick up where you were interrupted, mid-sentence. Long ago I decided that automatic updates were something I had to do. Too many websites couldn’t run things properly with old systems. It’s just that I wish artificial intelligence were a little more, well, intelligent.
I keep odd hours. I already know that. I’ve been trying for years to learn to sleep past the long-distance commuting hour of three a.m. Some days I’m successful, but most days I’m not. That means that I write these posts when computer programers assume everyone is asleep. Doesn’t it notice that I’m typing even as it sends its ominous message? Is there no way for automatic updates—which send you warnings the day before—can do their work at, say, midnight or one a.m., when I’m never using my computer? Ah, but the rest of the world prefers to stay up late! I need the uninterrupted time when few of us are stirring to come up with my creative writing, whether fictional or nonal. So I have to tell my electronic conscience to be patient. It can restart at ten p.m. when I’m asleep.
Wouldn’t it be easy enough to set active hours for your personal devices? After all, they pretty much know where we are all the time. They know the websites we visit and are able to target product advertising to try to get us to buy. They data-mine constantly. How is it that my laptop doesn’t know, after many years of this, that I’m always working at the same time every day? Is there no way to convince it that yes, some people do not follow everyone else’s schedule? What about individual service? You know what brands I like. You sell my information to the highest bidder. You remember every website onto which I’ve strayed, sometimes by a poorly aimed click. I could point out more, but I see that my computer has decided now is the time to resta