Who remembers Wall-E? That adorable and curious little robot who couldn’t resist collecting interesting trinkets he found among the heaps of trash. With his big expressive eyes and his cockroach buddy, Wall-E swoons over the love scenes in Hello Dolly and yearns for someone to love. One day, Wall-E meets Eve, an advanced robot sent from the spaceship Axiom to search for signs of life on Earth, which has turned into a garbage planet.
Today, in 2023, when I look around, I realize we’re on the brink of a Wall-E world. While I hope we don’t ruin our environment, we’re definitely looking and acting like the citizens aboard the Spaceship Axiom. For one thing, we’re glued to social media, instant messaging, and video chatting. I see high school and college students standing around looking at their cell phones instead of talking to the people next to them. Everyone walks around in their own little “screen bubble” instead of making eye contact with the folks nearby. This behavior was puzzling to Wall-E in the scene where two guys were video chatting about playing golf and just happened to be floating in their hoverchairs right next to each other without seeing each other face-to-face.
Not only are people glued to social media, but they are not aware of their surroundings, preferring the “virtual” world rather than the physical one. In one scene, Wall-E knocks the screen from a female passenger and she’s surprised to see that they have a pool. We’re headed into that space with virtual reality games where people play in a metaverse, build virtual assets, build virtual towns, and make virtual friends.
However, the biggest gamechanger in 2023 is the explosion in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. We already have robot waiters who deliver food to the table and kiosks where you can order food and get it from a locker. Whatever tiny bit of human interaction is going the way of the dinosaur as robots will quickly take care of our physical AND social needs. People would rather chat with ChatGPT who is always affirming and encouraging. What’s more, with AI generating avatars for video conferencing and social interactions, we could soon be engaging with completely fabricated faces and voices. As we saw in Wall-E, the captain of the Axiom found himself at the mercy of an AI system that dictated his actions.
Finally, we have to be mindful of our sedentary lifestyle and dependence on processed food. We’ve been controlled by the Big Food Industry just like the people on the Axiom. The result is metabolic dysfunction and a whole host of preventable diseases and chronic conditions. Today, 88% of people in the United States have insulin resistance and we are paying for the consequences of our unhealthy lifestyle with skyrocketing medical bills. One can easily see how far we have become a Wall-E world by contrasting “man on the street” or “people on the beach” photographs taken in the 1950s with that of the general population surrounding us.
There’s no need to panic, but being aware of these issues and making small changes can have a big impact. Each of us can do our part to create a healthier, more connected world.
Start by reaching out to a friend for an in-person catch-up, or make it a point to take a walk in the park without your phone. These little moments of genuine connection and fresh air can make a huge difference.
Taking control of our health is also essential. We can do this by focusing on reducing insulin resistance through healthier food choices and regular physical activity. Remember, every small step counts towards a better, healthier life. [Read Dr. Benjamin Bikman’s book, Why We Get Sick].
And don’t forget about the simple joys of reading a paper book. Not only is it a great way to unwind, but it also helps you avoid the blue light from screens that can disrupt your sleep.
Be sure to watch the romance between Wall-E and EVE when they dance outside the spaceship Axiom and inspire the folks inside to yearn and hope for a better (and more physical) future. Wall-E (2008)
While you’re decompressing from the Wall-E world, be sure to check out my free ebooks and audiobooks. https://rachelleayala.net/free-books/
Wall-E (2008), an animated film from Pixar.
Rachelle Ayala is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Her foremost goal is to take readers on a shared emotional journey with her characters as they grow and become more true to themselves. Rachelle believes in the power of love to overcome obstacles and feels that everyone should find love as often as possible, especially if it’s within the pages of a book.
Her book, Knowing Vera, won the 2015 Angie Ovation Award, A Father for Christmas garnered a 2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award, Christmas Stray received a 2016 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award, and Playing for the Save got the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in Realistic Fiction.
She is also a writing teacher and founder of the Romance In A Month writing community. She lives in California with her husband and has three children and two birds.