Losing control: is this the death of the TV remote?

No more searching down the side of the sofa – Sky’s new voice-activated device could consign the device to history

Name: the TV remote control.

Age: About 75 years old.

Appearance: Going, going … nearly gone.

It has not gone, it’s down the side of the sofa, like always. Not this time.

Then you’re sitting on it. Nope. Sky is about to announce the launch of a voice-activated device, as part of its new Sky Q platform, potentially rendering the traditional remote as outmoded as the test card, twiddling the dial, waggling the aerial and other ancient relics and lost arts.

So you can just speak and the telly will change channels? Yup.

This is the end of everything. Yup.

The last vestiges of family viewing will crumble to dust as everyone starts barking instructions at the TV the minute they get bored. Yup.

The divorce rate will rocket. I pack a bag every time my partner starts channel hopping with the zapper – I’m not sure I could handle instructions being shouted at the telly. Yup.

And we’ll all end up in hospital; we’ll be obese by the end of the week if we don’t even have to get up and find the remote occasionally. And the pressure sores. Don’t forget those. Down to the bone before you’ve even reached the Casey Novak years of Law & Order: SVU.

Do you remember when it was recommended that TV fans get up to change the channel manually as healthy-living advice. What are they going to do now? Dunno. Perhaps Sky will be forced to put out public information films at frequent intervals to remind us to change the dressings on our suppurating sores and go to the loo now and again?

Should we be worried about the surveillance aspect, too? I don’t think so. Whatever your TV knows about your habits it will know whether you click it in the old-fashioned way or shout and let whatever new witchcraft is involved do the work.

But … but I like Bonekickers. Well, you certainly don’t want to be saying that out loud, I grant you.

What if I’ve got Amazon Echo? Won’t me shouting out TV titles confuse her? I mean him. I mean itI don’t know. I chose not to invite a Bezos sentinel and proxy into my home to monitor my every move and utterance. But I imagine it could make things interesting. Good luck.

Do say: “What even is life any more?”

Don’t say: “Siri, what even is life any more?”

The GuardianTramp

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