Smart Meters – Part of the slippery slope to WALL-E?

The Badger just took a phone call from our electricity supplier pressing to fit a smart meter. It’s all part of a government programme where providers must roll out smart meters to >26 million homes across the UK by 2020. Home owners are, however, not obliged to have them. These calls happen regularly. Unsolicited cards and letters pressing for installation appointments also arrive frequently by conventional post only to find their way quickly to the recycling bin. It’s all very irritating.

The call centre staff are normally pleasant enough; they are, after all, just doing their job and following a script prepared by their company. The Badger is never belligerent with callers and always responds in the same way, namely to politely decline an installation because the Badger has the right to do so and because there’s no real benefit to the Badger’s household. The Badger has lost count of the number of times the same conversation has taken place, so following today’s call the Badger sat back with a coffee for a long objective think. Does the Badger’s standard response underpinned by a personal intransigent to change, a reluctance to embrace modern technology, or is it just driven by frustration at a company that just don’t seem to listen to what their customer says or wants? Should the Badger capitulate and just take the Smart Meter?

Well, the Badger’s thoughts were influenced by the film WALL-E (watched with children recently), and by items about which there’s been some publicity over the last week. Examples of the latter include the usage of social media which an average person consults ~150 times a day, addiction to computer games being recognized formally as a mental health issue, obesity in younger generations, and the benefits or otherwise of Artificial Intelligence. The outcome of the contemplation – perhaps predictably – is that the Badger will not be changing his stance or response regarding Smart Meter installations!

Why? Because the Badger is very technology, environment, health and budget aware and is already doing the right things to balance household, country and planet needs. The Badger’s wife put it rather neatly. She doesn’t want another app on her phone to adjust the hot water or central heating or any other device in the home. She wants to have to get up from the sofa, make needed adjustments, and exercise her limbs to avoid being a couch potato! The Badger’s sentiment is similar. The Badger senses that the ethical, human, and public policy aspects of technology adoption are lagging well behind the speed of the technological advancement itself. Which brings us to WALL-E. If you haven’t seen this film, then do so and note the depiction of humans. Are we already and accidentally on the slippery slope where the WALL-E depiction of humans becomes a reality? Hmm. Perhaps I’ll use this on my next call regarding Smart Meters.

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