At Christmas, our family does a silly gift exchange. It’s called Dirty Santa. Everyone buys a silly gift fit for anyone, or no one at all, and through scheming, negotiating, and pure luck, everyone ends up with something they never thought they needed.
Last year, I ended up with a pair of laser scissors.
I imagined all the perfectly straight lines I would cut. Lasers! Scissors with lasers! My monkey mind craved the idea. Lasers make everything better. In our short stint into the 21st century, scissors are about the only thing that has not been made better through lasers.
It took some clever maneuvering, but when the dust settled, I proudly clenched my laser scissors. I was a kid straight out of the candy store, and could not wait to unpack them.
I did not waste any time. The packaging went in the pile of wrapping paper, and I eagerly anticipated the straightest line my hands would cut. We’re living in the future I always imagined.
There is no video of that moment. It did not occur to me to record it, because lasers are foolproof. The attached laser projected a perfectly straight line wherever I aimed them. The lines would be epically straight!
The best I can do is a faithful reproduction.
Many things that have improved with lasers. Eye surgery. Distance measurement. Hair removal. Sadly, lasers don’t improve everything. Turns out, scissors are one of those things.
Lots of things that are like lasers. You combine them with something, and in theory, things should be better. They sound like a good idea at the time. Blockchain. Microservices. Occasionally, great things happen. Too often, we end up with something that is more expensive or complicated. Sometimes the result is clearly inferior.
I can’t wait until Christmas, when someone buys a pair of ChatGPT scissors from the local bargain bin for Dirty Santa. They’ll be mine.