Local Man Blames Bed for Average Night of Sleep
OREGON—Complaining of waking up with a zombie arm from sleeping on his arm all night, Local resident Percy James of small town Ashland reports that he was somewhat disappointed that his new Sleep Number bed only provided him with an average night of sleep, as opposed to the “best possible sleep” promised by the folks at Select Comfort.
“We put a lot of faith into our technology nowadays,” James reports, “and we expect it to live up to our standards.” While the bed is able to track James’ heart rate, breathing rate, and movement, it was not able to keep his arm from falling asleep, which James considers a function of the bed that would be more applicable to daily life than tracking his movement or breathing rate. Furthermore, the bed is at all times connected to the internet, which, according to James, should give it the ability to take his movements into account and flip him over if it senses that the blood flow to his arm is being constricted.
“It’s just a little disappointing, you know?” James goes on to say as he pours himself a cup of black coffee. “We give all these apps access to our location and our personal information, so we expect they’d know us better. The bed knows the exact time I’m asleep and it knows when I’ll be waking up. Why can’t it keep me from sleeping uncomfortably or, say, order me a cup of coffee in the morning?” Sleep Number does, in fact, use all of James’ information to gather statistics about his personal life, but does not seem to apply the information in any visible way. “So where does it all go?” James wonders, but he shrugs his shoulders and sips his coffee.
Select Comfort experts responded by stating that while the bed does collect personal information about James, it is unable to use it in providing services other than monitored sleep. For further services, experts referred him to Cisco, otherwise known as, “the internet of everything.”
Professionals explain that Cisco uses a small camera to monitor what goes on in your house. If, for example, James’ daughter spills the carton of milk from the fridge while he is out shopping, his refrigerator would send him a personal message to pick up more milk. How does it know he’s at the store? One of Cisco’s software engineer’s explains: “It’s, like, in your phone with you, you know? Your phone knows your location at all times anyway, so Cisco uses that information to identify where you are and what you are doing there. We liked the idea, even though Google came up with it. It takes all your information from all your accounts and combines it to really pinpoint who you are. That way we know who and where you are. People like being seen.”
Though his disappointment in his newly acquired Sleep Number bed has not yet settled, James says he’s ready to take the next step with Cisco. “I know it can be better than this,” James states, “it’s got to be. Everyone just wants technology to be what’s best and easiest for them. My wife said she thought having a bed that monitors our sleep might be a bit creepy, but I told her I only want the best for her.”
Despite Mrs. James’ statements that having a Cisco network watching their daily life is “hella creepy,” Mr. James is pursuing installment of the network, saying that “[they’ve] got to keep up with technology.”
“You don’t want to be the last guy wearing Crocs after they’ve gone out of fashion,” James tells reporters. “And besides, useful technology grows on you. I can’t remember what I used to do without my cellphone. Pretty soon, people won’t remember how they made it without Cisco. Technology is our future.”
A lot of the technology we use today (cellphone, Facebook, etc.) is capable of tracking us, both in our physical location and in our interests. My satire focuses on the Sleep Number bed that tracks information such as our pulse and uploads it to the internet for us, but can be expanded to a larger number of other technologies that know who we are and where we are. A lot of apps that we download onto our phones ask for permission to access our location (which we give to them) and Google knows a multitude about us.
My satire focuses on the story of Percy James, who, by being characterized as a very average person, is satirizing typical Americans. The humor works because the article also satirizes local newspapers by focusing on the story of an average man just doing average things. The headline is designed to be a parody of a local newspaper by featuring a complaint we might hear from a person with an old mattress: the person is unable to sleep very well because the mattress he or she is using isn’t right. However, the irony is in the fact that the man has one of the newest, most expensive beds available, and is dissatisfied with only receiving an average nights’ sleep. Both the demands the man has of technology and the privacy he is willing to give up are absurd, so the article becomes humorous. The man is also willing to give up a greater portion of his privacy by hooking up to the Cisco network, and his wife’s comments that being monitored is “hella creepy” add humor to the situation as well.
Overall, the man’s dissatisfaction technology and willingness to give up his privacy for “more useful” services are funny because it demonstrates how more developed technology is not always useful or even necessary. Is it really necessary to have an expensive bed that tracks your pulse? Maybe not. However, the more serious satire focuses on the fact that people are giving up a lot of privacy to use services like Google, and that they have no other options if they want to keep up with technology.