Technically speaking, I can’t. I belong to the "lost generation" that is mortally afraid of technology as one would a Frankenstein of one’s own making. But this fear is not merely of the extant technology that has threatened to take over entire lives leaving them completely at sea. If it were only that, I know I am in good company or perhaps even exalted company. My fears are more rudimentary.
I am chary of locking or unlocking doors as they turn temperamental. I cannot fix a fuse or hammer in a nail and my efforts to hang a photo frame with all the finesse of Uncle Podger evokes guffaws. The shredder and the grater act up and finally I resort to the old faithful knife.
Maybe it is just that I am ham-handed. The washing machine sputters to a standstill and then washes, spins or rinses at will. Everything is jinxed. If I have to call the AC or garage or refrigerator mechanic I am put on all the numerals from 1 to 10 and treated to the recorded voices of three or four languages at various decibels, till the phone hangs up on me. This, I think, is plain unlucky because my daughter who walks in on my frustration does it in a jiffy and the mechanic is at the door.
I do not have the nerve to drive as the sheer mechanics of driving give me a panic attack. Add to that a lack of direction sense, the congested roads, the erratic traffic lights, the daredevil drivers and the nonchalant jay walkers, and the picture is complete. Of course, throw in a riotous imagination that can call up bloody accidents of mangled remains of man and machine. "A fine frenzy," the Bard of Avon would have said
Flights are anathema to me, but when I need to travel alone, it is only once I am safely in the aircraft that my heart leaps back to place and I experience a sense of simultaneous relief and triumph. When I walk out all in one piece at JFK airport, New York, with its multiple baggage carousels, countless terminals, security checks, immigration formalities and any number of instructions and arrows, my eyes search for familiar faces who are all the time keeping their fingers crossed and praying for me. My "core incompetence" I feel!
With artificial intelligence taking over with humanoids like Sophia and Alexa, managing our offices, homes and emotions are just steps away. Taking interviews, chairing meetings, fielding questions at press conferences with such aplomb, they make humans feel woefully incompetent. Wiser people than me have ventured to forecast that there would only be a bunch of extraordinary humans whose skills can be upgraded to match artificial intelligence and the average run of humanity may with time become myths like dodos and dinosaurs. Not prophecies but possibilities.