National Exam Humanities June 2010
I was walking around on a Saturday afternoon. It was cold and it was starting to rain. I was looking for a restaurant or a café where I could sit and have something to drink. When I saw one, I crossed the street and I was there. I sat at a round table and asked for a cup of coffee. While I was waiting for my order, I realised that there were other people in the place, but I sensed loneliness. I saw their bodies, but I couldn’t feel their souls. That was because their souls didn’t belong to them; instead they belonged to the Internet.
I stood up and walked between the tables. When I came to the biggest computer, I saw a thin, small man sitting in front of it. “I’m Steve”, he finally answered after I had asked him a couple of times what his name was. “I can’t talk with you. I’m busy,” he said. I thought he was working, and I apologised. He didn’t say anything. Before going back to my seat, I wanted to see what he was doing. I stood behind him. He was not working. He was chatting online with somebody – probably someone he didn’t know–and, at the same time, he was playing a computer game – a war game. I was astonished.
Why didn’t Steve want to talk to me? I tried again to communicate with that
computer geek, but not a word came out of his mouth. I touched his shoulder, but there was no reaction. I was getting upset. I put my hand in front of the monitor, and he started shouting, “leave me alone!” I took a few steps back. I was ashamed. I wanted to look and see if all those people in the café were looking at me, so I raised my head, but there was nobody interested in what was happening. I walked back to my table, and I noticed everybody was using a computer.
At that moment, I realised that the people in that place were having a cup of coffee and a nice conversation with their machines, not with people. All of them were more interested in having a relationship with the computer, particularly Steve. I wouldn’t want to imagine the future of human beings if they preferred sharing their lives with machines instead of people. I was worried and I sank in my thoughts. I didn’t even realise that the coffee was bad, just as Steve didn’t even realise that there was a person next to him.