On Food Dispensers (Other Than People)

As well as mile-high cities laid out in straight lines, the futuristic style that Gibson called “Raygun Gothic” envisaged the replacement of food with pills, or at the very least automatic food dispensers. Whereas food pills are impossible (where would the calories come from?), food automats have actually existed. For snacks they still do.

The mentality that thinks straight lines look “cool”, even if they wreck the supposed function of the building, finds food automats attractive in some way. I suspect that the siren song lies in the very distance from other human beings, what we might call transaction aversion. This must be stronger than we assume, since it competes and conflicts with the tremendous human drive to have other humans serve us. What makes us want to get our dish from an automat rather than a waitress or even matron behind a counter may be the same thing as causes the Japanese to plan for having their geriatrics cared for by robots rather than Filipinas. Not racism alone; the trouble with human interaction is that you may commit a solecism, do the wrong thing. The automat will never look back at you as someone who does not know how to behave. Why this social anxiety should have been stronger among the people who lusted after air-cars, vertical cities and food pills I cannot explain.

Posted on May 9, 2009 at 11:12 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: CULTURAL ODDS AND ENDS, The Futurist Fever-Dream

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