For our prompt of “Dogs” today, I made a little sketch of my own pup Elliott. Yesterday was a holiday and my mom and sister came for a visit. We spent the afternoon outside, enjoying a bit of peach cobbler and ice cream, while Elliott was lounging on his outdoor cot next to us. The weather was sunny, yet perfectly mild and it was a moment that I suddenly never wanted to end. Looking over at Elliott, I think he felt the same way. As he continues to get older, he’s just 18 months old now, I see little changes each and every day. It’s fun to watch him discover new bits of the world and new ways to react to those bits as he goes along. Though we don’t speak the same language, he’s still figured out ways to communicate quite clearly. Whether it’s a head nod to let us know he wants a bit more water, or the very audible sounds he makes that resemble a groaning child saying, “Ugh! Why? Why can’t I do that? You’re ruining my life!” That last one is followed by a very dramatic collapse on the floor and more groans of displeasure, usually with one eye and one of those impossibly asymmetric ears turning in my direction for added effect. It’s totally adorable.
As tends to happen in our house, Philippe and I started discussing artificial intelligence and how that might relate to dogs. The domestication of animals is really not that dissimilar to a human reliance on machine intelligence. I was born around the same time as commercially produced portable calculators were made available. I’m rather sure this is why I wasn’t particularly interested in learning a lot of math. It seemed, even at that time, that basic math would rapidly become a rather unnecessary skill with all the advancements in technology. Now, I’m truly hoping that artificial intelligence doesn’t cause humans to give up on creativity. With all the recent advancements in machine intelligence just within the last few months, it does seem a bit worrisome to consider future impact on humans. This really got me thinking that machines have made us dumber in the same way domesticated dogs have evolved to have a smaller brain than their wolf cousins. Now, they say human brains are about four ping pong balls smaller in size than our ancestors. Unsurprisingly, humans were not at all bothered by this unsettling bit of evolution. Dogs, however, worrying for their own survival, have sworn they’ll fetch those missing balls and happily return them to us.
As machines are able to do more things for us, humans will indeed continue to submit to them. And the older and more exhausted I become each day, the more appeal I can actually see in that. Yet, as I was spending a lazy afternoon with my dog, I realized what I loved most about that particular moment was the complete absence of machines. It was just a bit of cobbler and family, which is so impossibly human and beautifully mundane that I was entirely absorbed in the moment. Elliott caught my eye while he was basking in the sun and nodded his head in solemn agreement. Well, at least, that’s what I imagined in my own head. Then, he closed his eyes and within minutes I could see his foot twitching and hear the quiet grumbles that he makes when he’s fast asleep and dreaming. Rest up, little buddy, there’s a big world out there and new things to discover each and every day. But, no matter how exciting it all may seem in the moment, never forget that there’s really nothing more satisfying and enjoyable than a lazy afternoon.
About the Doodlewash
Sketching Stuff Coloring Set – Da Vinci Watercolors: Charlie O’Blue, Opus (Vivid Pink), Yellow Ochre, Terra Cotta, And Ultramarine (Green Shade). ZIG Cartoonist Mangaka Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle 100% Cotton Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? SEND ME A NOTE HERE, and I’ll Add it To My Shop!