I’ll admit something now.
Which won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me, even slightly.
I like gadgets – rephrase – I love gadgets.
I remember when I was burgled in Shaw, Oldham in 1989 and though devastated to lose my precious hifi separates, Sony TV and Panasonic VCR, the insurance payout made me tingle with anticipation and I ended up in Kendal’s on Deansgate, Manchester, with a full bank account, like a Golden Ticket winner on a Willy Wonka tour.
I bought a complete surround sound system with centre, side and rear speakers, along with a smart amplifier and CD player, both of which are still going strong today in Norfolk.
A party was convened to watch videos and show off the sound system and 24 inch TV and all was good.
Burglary was traumatic in that I felt my home had been violated, and I always had the nagging feeling that it would happen again despite me turning the terraced house into a mini Fort Knox. It did. When I was in too.
But that’s another story.
What got me thinking recently though about gadgets and tech is the emergence of voice control.
I’ve had iPhones since the iPhone 4 on and off and were I to review Siri in one word, I’d say Siri is “shit”.
Yet, I’ve been drawn into Alexa, Amazon’s offering, buying two Echos, one as part of an energy shifting deal and another to use upstairs.
I’ve just been drawn into buying a Google Home Mini too as the Coral Pink mesh matches my office wallpaper and because the geek in me wants to compare Amazon and Google.
£34 was a steal too for a voice-controlled device.
You didn’t though tune into Man Stress to read about my feckless spending (or maybe you did).
You tuned in to read about anxiety, depression, stress and read stories of men suffering?
But this is my point.
If Alexa or Siri or Google can choose music, make purchases, tell you the time, jokes, why can’t each be programmed (in the future) to tackle mental health issues.
“Alexa, my depression is bad, please help.”
“I suggest going for a walk as the weather is sunny and it will do you good.”
“OK Google why am I anxious about my job?”
“It’s because you’re doing a job you dislike and working with knobheads, seek alternative employment or become self-employed.”
“Siri, why do I feel so shit after drinking?”
“Perhaps you need to stop drinking totally as alcohol is a well-known depressant and toxin.”
These questions may not be answerable yet – but when I was ploughing a lone retail furrow in Manchester 30 years ago, did I envisage a home with three voice-controlled speakers?
But I think self-help advice will arrive on Echos, HomePods, Sonos and Google Homes – and sooner than you’d imagine.