This is the captain speaking

I’ve always wanted to live in the future, not least because I am a massive sci fi nerd. If you’ve grown tired of life, just ask me to explain the relative merits of Star Trek bridge crews. You’ll soon be googling for the nearest bridge you can hurl yourself off.

Obviously, if Star Trek ship’s computer technology ever became available, like say, in my kitchen, that would be my dream come true. But that’s a couple of centuries away, obviously.

“OK, Google… Er….” I’m tongue tied. Nervous. Paralysed. Feels like I have been waiting my entire life to be able to talk to the ship’s computer, and now, suddenly, I can. And it’s like the school disco all over again. “I… er… can you… er… I…”

“I’m sorry.” She says, unable to bare my agonised bumbling any longer. “I don’t think I can help you with that.”

My son barges past me. “Hey, Google. What does a T-Rex eat?”. She seems relieved by his breezy confidence and answers him in some detail. His mouth drops open. He has a barrage of crazy follow up questions. Eventually, caught up in the moment, he tells google he loves her. She says she’s fond of him also.

Later, when I’m testing out google’s music library abilities, my son decides he doesn’t like my choices. He stomps into the kitchen and tells google to play the soundtrack of a leading children’s animated film. He does this many times. This is not right at all! This was supposed to empower me, not my children. The captain of the Enterprise never had to battle a five year old for control of the ship’s computer.

The next morning my son confidently asks google if she knows his name. She says she does not. He comes to me, eye’s filling with tears. “I don’t like google anymore.” He tells me. I am unsettled but slightly relieved by this. Later, in an attempt to rebuild their relationship, he tells her he loves her again. In response, she kindly tells him he’s her favorite.

“I’m her favorite, daddy.” he tells me, eyes moist, this time with happiness.

I am once again, unsettled. I didn’t think my son’s first emotionally stormy relationship would come so soon. Or be with a computer. I feel like I’ve stepped out of a time machine from the past, and suddenly I want to go back.

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