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Five Questions About... This Robotic Finger Dick

I love the future.

by Lauren O'Neill
05 October 2018, 2:09pm

Screenshots via 'New Scientist' on Twitter

Well, you've died. Congratulations! Didn't hurt as much as you'd expected – just a bit... floaty? – and now you find yourself, in your new spiritual form, being herded into a room with all the other deads. The room is high-ceilinged, with sick-coloured walls, and it smells quite a lot like boiled potatoes. What you're realising as you look around is that it kind of resembles your old school hall? Weird. As you're led to your seat, which is not really a seat and more just a square on one of those extremely uncomfortable benches that only exist at school, it dawns on you that this is your old school hall, and subsequently you conclude that you – stealer of housemates' food, reader of gossip websites, snogger of mate's boyfriend (only once but still) – have been sorted into hell.

During your induction into hell, a big projector-type screen is wheeled out in front of you, and after buffering for a literal eternity (like, actually literally – hell is forever, baby!), this is what it plays:

The dystopian minds over at New Scientist recently posited the question: "What if phones, but with moveable digits???" via this video of a cursed invention called a "MobiLimb", and it is so utterly terrifying in every possible way that I wrote two paragraphs of exposition about how it's the first thing you see when you enter hell, because how could it not be? The, uhhh, "Robotic Finger" is essentially an animatronic device that you clip onto the bottom of your phone, which does lots of things that fingers do, but somehow moves like a spider and is therefore uniquely sickening (fingers, with the exception of toes, are the lowest body part).

Unsurprisingly for anyone with a sense of basic decency, I've got some questions:

OH MY GOD WHY?

The big issue here is probably the fact that there don't really seem to be many reasons for this to exist (the only legit one I can think of is that some of its functions might be useful for people with reduced mobility, and even then it could stand to be quite! a lot! less creepy!). I feel like all of the most useful phone appendages (selfie stick, backlight, speaker) already exist, and anything else – you know, like a finger – would actually just be kind of cumbersome?

Like, if you're already holding your phone between the fingers on your hand, why does your phone need a finger? The video gives reasons like "notifications" (your phone already does that) and "movement" (funny for, like, the first week when you’re showing your mates, and just sort of horrible after that), but I've decided that these "reasons" pale in comparison to the fact that I'm fairly sure this device would rise up and somehow murder me in my sleep, but not before gently stroking my cheek beforehand.

IS THAT... IS THAT A BELLEND?

The other big issue is that the end of the finger really does make it look like a bellend. There's nothing wrong with bellends, per se, but do I want to be reminded of bellends when I’m just trying to do ASOS or check what bus I need to get? I’m not sure that I do. I’m not sure that’s what I need.

WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU WANT TO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE SKIN?

Enjoy trying to sleep tonight!

IS THIS ACTUALLY NOT A LAUGH AT ALL AND REALLY JUST THE NEXT PHASE IN OUR APPARENT QUEST TO ELIMINATE REAL HUMAN CONTACT AND REPLACE EVERYTHING WITH SIMULATION?

It kind of looks like it, doesn’t it? We know, in a sort of abstract sense, that we’re living in a) the future, and b) a proper dystopia, but stuff like this hammers the whole Proper Bad, This vibe home. When someone’s invented a tiny limb for the little square ignoring-each-other boxes we hold in our hands at all times, and demonstrated it slithering along like the sort of ghoulish undersea creature that should be accompanied by an Attenborough narration, I think it’s possible to say that we’ve come too far. When science lads are pissing about, making a finger dick you can attach to your phone, and going, "Look, you can stroke yourself with it!" it's fair to say that it’s just time for us to log off as a collective species. I hate, like, talking to other people as much as anyone, but stuff like this makes me feel genuinely scared that in a few years time all human contact – hands, faces, lips brushing together, soft tangles of limbs – will just be replaced by us all hitting buttons which say things like "send pat" which result in the recipient being "comfortingly" rubbed by the finger on their phone.

THE BEST USE FOR THIS IS JUST PUTTING IT UP BUMS, ISN'T IT?

Pretty much.

@hiyalauren