As technology develops and the ravenous bottom-line drives entry-level jobs overseas innovative people have been scrambling for new ways to perpetuate their existence. The pro-blogger movement has grown and there are scores of people driving traffic to online retailers and eating off the residuals. Making a living on your own, particularly in the clogged arteries of the internet, isn’t easy but when the alternative to making rent is moving to the developing world and competing with people bearing PHDs for your shit job you scramble to generate enough recycled garbage for your site in hopes that people will click a link and buy something.
Courtesy Bowl Donburi Cafe
Competition just got more fierce this week, according to Pink Tentacle. The industrious Japanese, already the vanguard nation in developing robots to replace concierges, store clerks and your grandmother, now present a blogging plant named Midori-san. (Translates as Mr./Ms. Green)
Midori-san lives at a restaurant known as Bowls Donburi Cafe (Donburi is a wide range of dishes all involving a clump of rice in the bottom of a bowl with whatever you want on top.) in Kamakura, a coastal city south of Tokyo. Bowls is something of a concept restaurant which seems to encourage bringing your own bowl for discounted meals as well as offering local, seasonal ingredients. Perhaps more shocking is that Bowls wants its patrons to relax in a cafe environment where they will hopefully make friends with their neighbors, relax and hang out. When people criticize capitalism the retort often hides behind money as motivation– who will develop a cure for cancer if they can just hang out eating donburi all day in a relaxing environment? To those stiff codgers of the Old World Order I say, these people have a plant that writes a daily blog.
Not that I understand the science behind anything but according to the article there are sensors reading fluctuations in the plants bio-electric current. Light, water, people walking by all affect the plant in some minute way and the results run into a computer which processes the data and uses an algorithm to compose sentences based on the day’s feedback. So far Midori-san likes to discuss relative humidity, degrees of light and other environmental activity. More interesting is that the Midori-san site invites you to “Give Light to Midori-san”; there’s a button you can click which will activate a fluorescent light hanging over the plant. Just try to interact with me and see what happens– I can’t compete with this and I’m not trying to make a living here. In Japan the plant thanks you and shares its love of photosynthesis with the world spreading a feeling of interconnected love.
Where will all of this lead? The people behind Midori-san’s meteoric rise to fame seem to think that having a plant blogging will give people cause to stop and think about their relationship to nature and ecology. I’m not sure I buy that it’s more than a unique marketing gimmick for an up-and-coming chic Japanese eatery but I’ve got my own team hard at work here on the home-front just in case.