The Translator Couch

When I traveled all through Siberia and Russia in 1992, I managed to pick up a novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatski. It was sort of a science fiction book called "Monday Begins on Saturday". It was an amazing piece of literature.

In the novel, the characters create all sorts of innovative things at a scientific institute in the old Soviet Union. One of their inventions was a translator couch. Two people who spoke different languages could sit on the couch and have a conversation could understand each other. The primary character of the story fell asleep on the couch, and he heard hundreds of voices that awoke him when the couch began to translate his dreams into almost every known language.

The book was written close to thirty years ago, and when I read it, it seemed like it was a droll piece of humour. I was wrong. The Strugatski brothers (who are twins and both astrophysicists) were predicting the future. Our furniture in the future will not be there just to support our bodies and stuff to keep them off the floor. It will be multi-functional, multi-purpose and intelligent furniture.

The furniture will recognize who is sitting in the chair, by weight and bio-metrics, and depending on the time and day of the week, will turn on the entertainment, or dim the lights or whatever. The thing to watch for, is when the wife programs the Lazy Boy to kick the husband out of it to do chores. That is when the future won't be fun any more.

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