Smart Cup, Stupid People

Maybe you have heard the good news? It’s not about Jesus so i’ll give you a hint: the genius that is Silicon Valley has invented something that has alluded humanity for millennia and will now save us from untold horrors – yippee! I’m willing to bet you didn’t even know you needed this but now that it is available (for only a couple hundred dollars) you will thank your lucky stars that you have it, assuming you have the disposable income and belief that you actually need it. Okay if you haven’t guessed by now I will tell you (the title probably gave it away) – it’s a smart cup! Pause for gasp here.

I have been using dumb cups for ever, actually forever because it’s just a cup, it doesn’t need to do anything other than hold a liquid. But now I am told that all of my hydration problems will be solved by the smart cup that has the ability (if and when it works correctly) to tell me what I am drinking (honestly if you don’t know what you are drinking, don’t drink it), when I need to drink more in order to stay properly hydrated (apparently the clues from my body around fatigue and thirst are not sufficient indicators), and various diagnostics about how my body is processing the liquids I am putting into it (not sure this is really a need to know on a minute by minute basis).

I’m guessing that the marketing is going to go something like this: you are too stupid to know when you need to drink water so let our cup tell you. I have not been aware of a major dehydration problem in the industrialized world. Drought yes, but the cup doesn’t make it rain so not much use there. Also there is a definite lack of clean water problem in much of the non-industrialized world, maybe instead of making a cup to tell already hydrated people to drink more water they could have made a cup that filters dirty water and makes it clean so people who have no other choice don’t have to die from water born illness. Oh that’s right – those people don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on a cup, so you know, screw ’em.

A couple of weeks ago there was a big article in the newspaper (I read one actually made of paper) that said the whole myth of needing 8, 8 ounce glasses of water a day was hooey. That in general that is way over hydrating for most people and that if you just pay attention to your body, basic logic and your environment you will do just fine in terms of hydrating. You know, things like if you are in the desert on a hot day drink more, or if you just exerted yourself in an athletic event drink more, or if you sit on your ass in your office drinking coffee you are probably fine. Your body, because it is designed to keep you alive will let you know when you need something to drink by producing a sense of desire for liquids, this is called thirst. Or you may feel tired and unfocused, this could mean you need a snack, a rest, or a drink. Remember how you would have a snack after school as a child – that kind of concept, not complicated and not requiring the use of technology.

But there advantages to the smart cup of course. Everything invented by the cult of Silicon Valley is good for something. Mostly using people for the profit of others but that’s cool right, as long as it is fun. So they, the owners, inventors, investors can take all this nice data you are producing about what you drink, when you drink it, how old you are, how fit you are, where you are and they can use it to sell you more stuff, to share with your doctor, to send you reminders about what you should buy, what you should do, where you should go. Super helpful things like that so you don’t have to think for yourself at all. I’m generally not a conspiracy theorist, I don’t think there is a major government plot to control us behind this cup. It’s probably just greed and the desire to sell stuff to gullible people who don’t need it, but want it because it’s cool. But think about it – all this smart stuff that does the thinking we used to do, there is just something about if that seems a little off. Damn, if only I had a smart brain I could figure out what it is!

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