Monkey VS. Bionic Arm
For centuries man has been reliant on animals for food, labor, and companionship. No beast of nature has been more spectacularly praised as the monkey. A rare find, the main feature of the monkey is to sit atop one's shoulder and carry out the will of its master. This could be a simple task such as retrieving beverages or food-stuffs, but is not limited to such meager tasks. When the master takes a stroll, the monkey can observe aspects of the immediate surroundings and notify the master whenever something goes awry. Consider a walk in the woods when a lumberjack fells a tree without emitting the typical cry "Timber!". A monkey's keen eyes and ears may detect this anomaly in tree-cutting protocol before his human host, and can alert the master to this problematic situation, potentially saving his or her life. Surely the monkey's role in human society cannot be overstated, but with the onset of biotechnology, will monkeys as we know them become a relic of the past?
Technology is advancing in great strides. One small step in hydraulic-powered robotics could mean a reality-altering step for mankind. Already people with disabilities have learned to use man-made limbs to aid their day-to-day lives, regaining the ability to grasp objects, or walk in a fluid motion. Yet the day is fast approaching when the everyday person can take advantage of these magnificent appendages. An extra arm or two could be surgically attached to one's shoulder or side. What's more, these extra limbs will be far superior to our own, possessing great strength, speed, and flexibility. They could be outfitted with optics to survey the surroundings (including night-vision), or heat sensors to test the temperatures of thai dishes to determine their edibility. All of this data would be aggregated to the human possessor of said limb, providing him or her with an extraordinarily keen awareness. With such technology literally at our fingertips, what possible chance could the monkey have in the shoulder-assistant market?
Certainly the thought of extraneous ultra-limbs is enough to make one's mouth water, but let us not write out the monkey's role so rashly. Our ancient companion still has many superior features to offer to the discerning consumer. For one, monkeys do not require complicated surgery during installation -- just set him on your shoulder and you're good to go. Likewise, employing a monkey does not force the master to have his clothes tailored to include space for added limbs, which would certainly not be an inexpensive undertaking. Yet even a monkey usually needs clothes that must be specially cut to fit its minor frame, so the potential savings may only be illusory. Another central argument for the monkey's dominance in this coming industry is its personality and overall jesting demeanor. Monkeys are studied masters of hilarious tricks that can both amuse and amaze onlookers, from brief dance numbers to human-like impersonations. A robotic arm, no matter how elegant, will still likely make observers apprehensive at best, though the human controller could come up with a few comic moves.
When considering the monkey, carrying on a much-loved and utilitarian tradition, it is easy to become sentimental and say, "No thing could ever replace my dear monkey", but I urge you to consider these oft-overlooked issues relating to monkey ownership: A monkey is an animal, and it's sitting on your shoulder. Who's to say that the little beast's lavatorial needs will always coincide with your own? And don't forget the main reasons you wanted him in the first place, to make your life easier and be an aid to you throughout your daily life. Even the best-trained monkeys can be unreliable, not paying attention to what would be most helpful to its master, perhaps entertaining itself by riding a medium-sized dog when you'd like him to forage for flowers for the garden. A robotic arm will never disobey, it will always be there when you need it, and its data collection and analysis tools will put even the smartest monkey to shame.
The time will soon come when each of us must decide: Monkey or Bionic Arm? In anticipation of this difficult choice, I have attempted to lay out some key arguments that will surely be at the forefront of the public's consciousness. Both the monkey and the bionic arm possess a unique suite of skills that are unmatched in the other. Ultimately, the decision may be grounded in principle, in morals, in pragmatism, in aesthetics, but there will be little middle-ground. I urge you to consider these thoughts as a departure point for further contemplation, so that when it is you at the human accessories store of 2016, you will not have to hesitate in selecting your lifetime companion.
Note: This matter is much too complex to cover in this limited forum. I urge you to submit your own decisions, and of course the reasoning leading to the delicate choice, in writing or electronically, to our editing staff. This can be done by emailing us at submissions @ wafermaneuver.com, or visiting our blog. Any results accrued will be published in our next issue.