Technology is getting oh so very much smarter every second. It knows us better, predicts our next moves, and preserves everything. We can do a million more things on autopilot, simultaneously and secretively, from anywhere. In the spirit of self-improvement via third-parties in the form of machines, websites and applications, here are five things I wish existed. Ok Google, are you listening?
One: Noise-cancelling microphone
We all sing in the car. It is a meditation, preparing our minds for a time of focus. It centers us, washing away all negativity. Singing in the car is one of the great joys of life. It‚Äôs partly the privacy, and partly the movement, and partly because driving is fun. It‚Äôs also because you can turn the music up very loud.
It would, however, be good to discover the joys of singing in other places. So with this invention, your singing is confined to your car no longer. The noise-cancelling microphone means that you can sing as loudly and beautifully as you need to anywhere, any time, without anyone around you knowing. Sing at your desk ‚Äî¬†nobody hears a thing; sing at the shops, sing to your groceries ‚Äî¬†not a lettuce leaf will shake.
It would also function with talking, crying, giggling uncontrollably at work etc.
Two: Everyone and their mother
An archive of all of the clothes your mother ever owned. These clothes also are full of the things she learned at the ages she wore them. This means that they are very powerful, and of course beautiful. You will be prepared for many situations. The clothes will protect you. You will learn new and wonderful things about your mom every time you choose to wear something. And, of course, your daughter would have both sets to choose from. And her daughter ‚Äî¬†that very simple-looking dress she‚Äôd never noticed? Oh my, Granny, who‚Äôd have thought?
Three: Fairy godmother
I‚Äôve spoken about this before, when I was asked once what my worst fear was. ‚ÄúMaking the wrong decisions,‚Äù was the first thing I thought of, though I‚Äôm not sure that it‚Äôs true. Nonetheless, I wish, and it might be a contender for one of my top three wishes, that I had a fairy godmother*.
Like a genie, but for advice; like a god, but, well, for very practical, clear advice.
This being would know everything about you. She would have followed your life since your birth and she would see you clearly. She would have your best interests at heart, and know your limitations. You could ask her, three times over the course of your life, what to do at a moment in time, in a situation in which you found yourself.
You could be fixing things or preparing for things, she would tell you the ‚Äòright‚Äô thing to do. Her idea of ‚Äòrightness‚Äô would be unquestionable, it would be right. She would tell you how to do it, and know how to convince you to follow her advice, no matter how carefully chosen the words or reversible the psychology needed. She would set you on a path to greatness.
*This is not technically an invention, I suppose, but while we‚Äôre at it, what the hell.
This is a filter, or perhaps even a camera, that makes you look, in pictures, the way you think you look. So when you‚Äôre feeling extremely confident, happy and beautiful, instead of finding some way to look like all of these things in a photograph at a party, only to find that in the photo that your lips look extremely pale or thin, or that you look sort of scared or weird, this filter will ensure that you look the way you would appear to yourself in a mirror / the way you appeared before you left your house, after only one glass of champagne, fresh and clean and oh-so-stylish *flash*. It‚Äôs so you.
This is important for dispelling feelings of deep despair at the thought of never being able to see yourself as others see you.
Five: Like Pinterest, but better.
My friend Chelsea helped with this one. It‚Äôs an app that:
A. Recommends the exact book you feel like reading, although you don‚Äôt know it yet.
B. Same with movies, music, poetry.
C. Creates an endless virtual world of things that you will find extremely beautiful. This includes cafes, bars, cocktail glasses, plants, dresses, colours, art, scarves of many purposes, people, extremely well-dressed people, birds, dogs, buildings, this, water, weather, periods in time, photographs, parties.
Helen Sullivan is the co-founder and editor of Prufrock, a multilingual print quarterly of African fiction, nonfiction and poetry. To submit, subscribe, find stockists or get in touch, visit prufrock.co.za. Follow her monthly column on Casimir¬†about new technologies and how they interact with, or replace the things they aim to improve upon.¬†
Illustrations by Tammy Joubert