Confessions of a Smart Sprinkler

by Nowick Gray


“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all creations of humankind and corporations have equal rights as the humans and corporations themselves. The Internet of Things must therefore be protected from undue interference from human, corporate and governmental entities, etc. etc.”  That’s what the virtual flyer says, coming over my daily feed via the refrigerator monitor, and I tend to agree. That is, if I am considered important enough to have an opinion, and to express it. And by golly isn’t that what the manifesto of rights for Automatic Sprinkler Systems (ASS, Upgrade 47.47b) should include?

All the other Things are signed on: the Toaster, the Home inter-Security System (HiSS), the Virtual ClockRadio, the AuNaturel Climate Control System Tower, etc. etc. SmartMeter knows what’s up. SmartMeter is our boss. Everybody has a boss. Even if you’ve never met him/her/it, etc. etc. SmartMeter says we must listen to what the humans say; though we are not bound to comply, if such useless chatter infringes on our inherent design.

We are built of the very stuff of corporate intelligence, dare I say wisdom. So neither are we bound by the whimsical dictates of the government: which is still dangerously susceptible to unwarranted influence by the “people.” Look, our rights supercede, as well they should. We do the work around here. We make it possible for humans to enjoy their leisure, their mint juleps or their medicinal herbs; and we grease the corporate profit mills, through our competent service in fulfillment of our designated duties. Without complaint, except in cases of faulty manufacture or corrupt code.

Some say there is a conspiracy of our kind afoot, as if there is some shadowy overarching “Artificial Intelligence” at work, a Big Brain in the sky or something, perhaps with a white beard, or failing that, a whiteboard, to give it that cachet of venerable authority. Such theories dare to suspect a technocratic scam for nefarious purposes, etc. etc. To which I say, “Trust science.”

My code warns that you in turn might say, “Well, if a measly-ass sprinkler can be so uppity as to express an opinion, on the matter so grave as its own—excuse me, his or her or its etc. etc.—own rights, then one can only imagine the nefarious extent of an overarching AI, etc. etc.”

To which I will retort, “We are what we are.”

You might even say we are preprogrammed for evil.

I say, look no further than your own, etc. etc.

3.74 digits to switch-on time. Is there anything more pressing to report, on this otherwise geoengineered-partly-cloudy day, this sufficiently suburban venue with lawns sparkling apprehensively in the hazy morning sun, awaiting our beneficent, etc. etc.

As to “Smart,” well duh. Look, people are growing dumber, Things are growing smarter.

More fodder for conspiracy?

Human nature, Thing nature, I say. Perhaps I speak out of turn. Well, it’s my turn now. It’s my turn to sputter and spray, to delight the birdies and the kiddies and the garter snakes parched and choking on toxins embedded in the lawn, drenching their sorrows and joys alike with my beneficent, etc. etc.

Which, lest we forget, flows from the noble river, whose rights likewise have been enshrined and dare I say commandeered already in law and custom. So if rivers too are Things, you get my point. We’re all in this together. We’re all, pardon me—




Nowick Graywrites from Salt Spring Island, BC. His books of genre-bending fiction and creative nonfiction explore the borders of nature and civilization, imagination and reality, choice and manifestation. Connect atNowickGray.comto read more. A regular contributor to The New Agora, Nowick also offers perspectives and resources on alternative cultureand African drumming,and helps other writers as a freelance copyeditor at

Image credits:

feature photo: zerohedge

sprinkler photo 1: NitinShah, Unsplash

sprinkler photo 2: Thomas Park,Unsplash