Assaulted by infinitude

In an attempt to keep up with what is happening in the world around me, I began reading an overwhelmingly detailed blog by Christopher Mims entitled,

How the “internet of things” will replace the web

I launched myself jauntily into the text and was happily memorising lots of little bits of information new to me, Suddenly, my wheels came off, and skittered off into the middle distance when I was assaulted by infinitude. Here is the context, and the preamble thereto, quoted from the above article:

An invisible button is simply an area in space that is “clicked” when a person or object—in this case, a smartphone—moves into that physical space. It could be as small as a two-inch square on top of a conventional credit card reader, to enable payments, or as large as a room, which might want to know that you have entered or left so that it can turn on or off the lights. With Phillips’ Hue and countless other smart lights, this is already possible.

If invisible buttons were just rigidly defined on-off switches, they wouldn’t be terribly useful. But because the actions they trigger can be modified by an infinitude of other variables, such as the time of day, our previous actions, the actions of others or what Google knows about our calendar, they quickly become a means to program our physical world.

As a translator, and a curious person (ambiguous term; never mind), I meet and make friends with new words and expressions every day.

Fellow linguists will be relieved to know that infinitude was not a new word to me, nor indeed the concept to which it refers.  The assault on my senses came from the fact that this word now, out of the blue, becomes a useful – and possibly the only sensible – way to describe the causality on which  something invented by mortal humans (or alien zombies – the jury is still out on that one) depends.

I shall end this post now, before I become too deeply embroiled in metaphysical abstractions. Besides, my phartsmone has just beeped, indicating that a friend has commented on something I posted on Facebook earlier.

I shall “ignore” my phartsmone, and open Facebook on my laptop. That way, everything stays in the same place – right?

Quo vadis?
Quo vadis?

Allison

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