Wednesday, February 06, 2013

But Why Would Anyone Do That?

"The potential for misuse is great."

I find myself saying this a lot when Zaya is telling me about his inventions.

For example, his Time Machine: I had to point out the chaos that could be created by people who would go back and re-write history for their own nefarious schemes. He hasn't seen Doctor Who or Back to the Future, so I forgave him for not thinking of these possibilities.

These conversations happen frequently, and I can't even begin to tell you how many different items that he's discussed with me over the years.

He informed me tonight that I will not need to worry about his inventions becoming the next TNT someday, because he has it all figured out.

In his words:

"I will keep all of my inventions in my lab, and they will only be available for me and my helpers to use. That way no one will able to take them and do evil things with them. How will I make my money, I hear you ask? I will sell the inventions that no one could use to hurt other people."

An example of an invention that he might sell is his candy-bar making machine. This machine takes all the ingredients of your favorite candy bar and makes one for you as you wait. He thinks the candy factories themselves might be interested in purchasing this little gem. I didn't have the heart to tell him that the candy bar factories basically consist of gigantic machines in which one puts the ingredients for a candy bar and receives a finished product at the end.

We are having some debate about another invention that he has decided he will release to the open market. It is an "other-dimensionalizer", which is basically a portal that will teleport you to alternate dimensions. He decided that the ability to travel between dimensions will be available to all, and so cannot be used for evil. He has also put on a filter that will stop "bad people" from getting through. I didn't have to heart to explain how "bad people" can look and, even sometimes act, just the same as "good people".

I have been given very specific instructions for how to build this device, but I will not share them with the internet for obvious trademark reasons.

One of the inventions that he will keep hidden in his own lab, and which he has been developing in theory only for several weeks now, is a liquid that, when dropped on any solid substance, will instantly turn it into a liquid. He could not see at first how this could possibly be used as a weapon, so I helped him to understand by one simple question.

"What would happen if you dropped it onto a human?"

"Oh. Right."

He now claims that it would recognize the chemical make-up of flesh and not liquify it. I have my doubts.

You can see, then, why I am very afraid for the future of the world. Nobel and Einstein both could teach him a few things now about releasing your ideas to the world at large. Unfortunately, they're both gone.

Maybe I should just let him watch Doctor Who after all.

4 comments:

Lilibeth said...

I guess there's a fine line between letting him invent in innocence and making him afraid to invent at all. Here's an idea. How about an injectable louse repellent which could be given as a vaccine...or a cure for the common cold...which could be misted over large crowds (or classrooms) of sniffling people?
speaking of which...how about a behavior modifier that could be burned innocuously on a teacher's desk in a candle. It would automatically monitor the sound levels in a classroom and squelch all high frequencies--such as squeals...hmm. Maybe Zaya needs to bring his lab down here.

Anonymous said...

he should watch How its Made

meadowlarking said...

yeah I agree, How it's Made is a fascinating show and sure to give him new ideas. Has he ever gotten to tour Art's manufacturing plant?

meadowlarking said...

I agree - How It's Made is a fascinating show and sure to give him lots of ideas. Have the kids had the chance to tour Art's manufacturing plant?