MAN bites dog. That is one of the first lessons someone aspiring to be a journalist picks up in class. Or should it be the other way around? Skewered at times are the ways humans connect with other beings.
Anticipating that the Jan. 1 landfall of tropical depression Urduja might cancel sea travel, our family changed the plan to head for Siquijor and left Negros Island for the southern homebound trek on Dec. 31.
A few hours away from the new year, we arrived at Badian’s multi-purpose cooperative, travel-sore and seeking dinner.
While the boys checked the food at the counter, I searched for an empty table. Several tourists and guides were also dining after wrapping up the day’s canyoneering events. The diner was full except for a corner space that, by some miracle, had exactly four chairs.
When I got close, I realized why this table was free. Snug in the corner sprawled a dog, sleeping.
The snow-white muzzle gave away its age, but its heavy haunches made me mull for a diplomatic way of waking it up.
I whistled, coaxed, thumped my thighs, hoping it had a primordial instinct for drums being beaten in a crisis. I tried Cebuano, English, dog speak, and doggerel. The dog snored on. Just when it seemed either starvation or rabies awaited us with the dawn of 2018, the mongrel sprung awake from its sweet dream of puppy land, shook its heavy yellowish coat, and sauntered off.
I recalled the encounter when I read an article that reported the strides made in the Internet of Things (IoT), which networks people, tractors, “and even cows.”
In a Brazilian “fazenda” (plantation), an RFID (radio frequency identification) transponder planted in the ear of cattle enables a farmer to track each animal’s weight gain. Coupled with the market price of beef, the farmer can determine more efficiently “when the time is right for slaughter,” reported Bosch Zünder in December 2017.
Will “connections” eventually just be equated with efficiency and productivity in the IoT ecosystem?
I admit my eye was on a selfish gain in waking the dog in Badian. Yet, to ease it out of its sleep after noting its age, the wet twilight, and the warmth of its burrow, I groped around and confirmed the flimsiness of human communication for certain connections.
Does ego, masked or not, drive all human connections? In the IoT, which will connect 20 billion objects globally in three years from the current six billion, will the ecosystem be a cyber version of the jungle and its survival law of “dog eats dog”?
Faced with conundrums, I fall back on animal clichés: let sleeping dogs lie.