Tuesday, June 2, 2020 -
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Self-repairing potholes

I can’t wait until self-driving cars dominate the roads, not because I want one myself. I actually like to drive and won’t let anybody take away my steering wheel, even if I have to keep my current car forever.

However, if we can have self-driving cars, there is no doubt that all of the other tasks of life will, one by one, become self- . . . well, self-something.

Such as: self-garbage cans. They will just pick up and go outside to the huge trash bin there, which will just pick up and go to the curb on exactly the day when the self-driving garbage truck will come by.

This, though, is small potatoes compared to what will be, selfwise, that is. Speaking of potatoes, we are going to have, following upon the heels of universally self-driven cars, self-shopping.

Here is how it will work. I sit in my house, think of my grocery list, down to the exact size and color of the potatoes and the exact brand of orange juice (not to mention the exact expiration date), and within minutes all of my groceries will appear at my front door, having been collected in the store by a self-driving robot, then deposited in a self-driving truck.

Best of all, the self-animated robot traveling with the self-driving truck will take each specific food on my list and put it in exactly in the right place in my house.

But as I said, that’s all small potatoes.

What I am really looking forward to is the self-writing column — to which lawyers may add the self-writing brief; accountants, the self-filing tax return; and surgeons, the self-cutting surgery. That’s big stuff! And it’s all coming! Don’t think humanity will be satisfied with what is obviously the current, deeply felt necessity: the self-driving car.

Years ago, in a fit of prophecy, my colleague Rabbi Emanuel Feldman anticipated all this. He predicted self-wrapping tefilin. I now predict something far more significant: self-uttered prayers on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Imagine the physical and spiritual relief!

Yes, everybody’s going to get in on the act. Rabbis, lawyers, doctors, columnists, shoppers, etc. etc. Once people see everything from self-shopping delivery to self-tax returns, they’re going to want, demand, and get:

• self-electing mayors;

• self-constructed homes;

• self-climbed mountains.

Something else, though, is really going to top the list, putting all these new self-(fill in the blanks) to shame.

That’s self-paying.

Self-paying utility bills.

Self-paying weddings.

Self-paying taxes.

Self-paying, yes, groceries. Not only will they be self-delivered, they will be self-paid. Nobody will have to pay for them anymore. Yes, we are now approaching the ultimate: self-curing poverty.

Which, of course, will give an entirely new meaning to self-government. No longer will this connote free elections and universal suffrage. Rather, self-government will be self-implementing policies. Not only self-curing poverty, but:

• self-trimming trees on public streets;

• self-repairing potholes;

• self-educating schools.

This last one is really a beaut. Sitting in their homes (like the self-shoppers), students will self-attend their classes, taught by self-programmed teachers, who, because their teaching was perfected just the same as self-driving automobiles were perfected before they were let loose on the roads, never make a pedagogical mistake.

The results of these self-educating schools will be . . .

• self-important know-it-alls;

• self-indulgent sybarites;

• self-esteem-filled narcissists;

• self-serving, sluggish, slothful, lazy bums.

And you thought that self-driving cars were just an innocent step on humanity’s ineluctably advancing, technological wizardry. Oh no, think of the implications before you embrace those self-driving cars. They will turn the self-focused self of “me generations” into a paroxysm of creative inventions that will yield self-driven everything.

Except, of course, the self.

The human self.

The self that is rewarded by its own strivings, not external, mechanical ones.

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg may be reached at hillel@ijn.com.

Copyright © 2017 by the Intermountain Jewish News

Hillel Goldberg

IJN Executive Editor | hillel@ijn.com

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Rabbi Hillel Goldberg
Editor & Publisher

Shana R. Goldberg
Assistant Publisher