Just who, or what, was it that was busy downloading those mp3s? It certainly wasn't our friend's son, since he was in the backyard, playing soccer with Eitan and Nadav. There it was, the computer, working away at a task that essentially demanded no human interference once it had been put on course. This was still a far cry from an intelligent agent working in the background while I sleep, or attending to any other tasks awaiting my attention, but it's also a rather long way from that long ago time when sending a four page document to the printer also meant taking a coffee break, or reading the newspaper. Multi-tasking used to be a futuristic feature, and today it's SOP.
But the fact that the computer was taking care of business, unattended
by human eyes, for some strange reason didn't make me feel more comfortable
interfering with what it was doing. True, I didn't say "excuse me" before
butting in and giving my own work higher priority than what the computer
was up to at that moment, but there was still a strange tinge of disrespect
toward other important tasks that someone/something else was trying to
accomplish. And this feeling arose before taking into question the issue of screen savers devoted
to important tasks. Think how uncomfortable a situation it can be when your screen saver is up, and is busy searching for intelligent extra-terrisrial
life. It's enough to make you think twice about interrupting the computer's important work
in order to write a letter to a friend.