Saturday morning, I sat on the living room floor and played with my toys—just like when I was a kid. Back then, I was the voice of the Lone Ranger, calling, “Hi Ho Silver” as the stiff-legged horse galloped across the carpeted plains. I made funny faces on Mr. Potato Head, then set my Slinky loose on the stairs. I built the Empire State Building, with King Kong perched atop its tower, on my Etch-a-Sketch. Before lunchtime, I had tamed the Wild West, invented plastic surgery, mastered the laws of physics and created the Eighth Wonder of the World.
I am older now, and I’ve put aside childish things. Saturday morning, I sat on the living room floor and played with the Seeing AI app on my iPhone. AI stands for artificial intelligence and the app does all sorts of amazing things, from reading text to recognizing faces. It even reads handwriting. I printed block letters with a black Sharpie on white paper and Seeing AI read, “Hey, good looking!” Now, that’s intelligence!
Then I switched the menu to “Person,” pointed the camera at my face and heard, “Eighty year-old man with blond hair looking neutral.”
“Eighty years old, my ass!” I shouted at the phone. “I’m only sixty-eight—and my friends say I look ten years younger.” I jabbed the phone and snapped another head shot.
“Eighty year-old man with blond hair looking angry,” said Seeing AI.
“You bet I’m angry! You cheated me out of twelve years!”
Then, recalling that crabby people look old, I forced a smile.
“Eighty year-old man with blond hair looking happy,” said Seeing AI.
“Wrong again,” I said, and, putting Sharpie to paper, I hand-lettered a manifesto.
“Fifty-eight year old man with blond hair looking smug,” read Seeing AI.
“It’s about time you got it right,” I said and closed the Seeing AI app.
Saturday morning, I sat on the living room floor and played with my toys. I pondered modern maturity, made peace with technology, honored the judgment of friends and took ten years off my age. All before lunchtime.