Legends from our own lunchtimes

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Saturday 27th August - Diksmuide

Because of the drought-induced restrictions on pleasure craft using the waterways, our return to Diksmuide was in no small way assisted by the operation of autonomous barges carrying sand on the canal from Oostende to somewhere past where we wanted to be, and therefore providing us with the opportunity to use the locks.   Yes it’s true, a man in a high vis jacket appeared from nowhere while in the lock, to stand on one in an apparent effort to circumvent the regulation preventing pleasure craft from sharing with unmanned craft, but as someone who used to travel to school on a steam train, being in the very presence of these things is just downright creepy.

Even if one likes to think of oneself as reasonably tech savvy, the first time four hundred tons of sand glides silently towards one’s boat, on a forty metre long barge being piloted by a few sensors and an algorithm, one’s nervous system is prone to making awkward involuntary responses.  The manner in which they respond, moving unhurriedly out of the way, picking their way through moored vessels, moving aside for one another and shuffling forward in the lock to allow others to enter is just… well…I'll say it again...creepy.

According to Wikipedia, of the 1962 cartoon series: “the Jetsons live in 2062, in a comical version of a century in the future with elaborate robotic contraptions, aliens, holograms, and whimsical inventions”.  We have forty years to go, yet we already have robot vacuum cleaners and driverless ships in day to day use.  

George Jetson is said to have been born in the year 2022 which according to our calendar is this year, I wonder if, seventy years from now he will write a blog post including the words “as someone who used to travel on an autonomous ferry…”


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