CONTRARY to what some people might think, local newspapers much prefer reporting good news than bad.

One of the cheeriest stories of recent days was about car dealership Fish Brothers giving Great Western Hospital charity Brighter Futures £1,800.

The cash will be used to buy about 70 ingenious devices called Droplet Hydration Cups. Each cup has a little mechanism with a speaker, which reminds patients when they need to take a sip of water.

Those reminders are vital to many patients who might otherwise be distracted by their treatment, worries, discomfort or the simple fact that they’re not in the familiar surroundings of home.

In my book, that makes the cups possible life-savers, and the whole project is yet another reminder of why we should all support Brighter Futures.

I only wish I were not so prone to paranoia.

Happy as I am about the Droplet Hydration Cups, I can’t help but wonder where this type of technology is going to lead as Artificial Intelligence becomes more sophisticated.

Suppose this sort of thing were eventually made available for civilian use, and suppose the plates and glasses and things got in on the act?

There you’d be in the pub, minding your own business and about to get another drink, when suddenly a little voice from your pint pot said: “That’s your third in half an hour.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“I said that’s your third in half an hour - and I notice you aren’t even going for the normal strength stuff. Nope, straight into the Old Hallucinator Triple-Strength Mangel Wurzel and Henbane Cider for you. I take it you realise the bloke who invented it ended up in a facility for the criminally insane? Mistook his brother-in-law for a meat and potato pie. Terrible business.”

“Well,” you’d retort, “it’s Friday night and a couple of drinks helps me to relax and be a font of witty banter.”

“Witty banter? You mean like last week, when you spent three quarters of an hour lecturing that table of bewildered Millennials about how the song of the mice in Bagpuss was based on the Medieval tune known as Summer is Icumen In? Two of them were so bored they’ve got PTSD. You do realise you’re all over Instagram? You’ve been used as an example in university lectures on advanced alcoholic befuddlement as far away as Brisbane.”

“Hang on a minute. If this is a pub and you’re a pint pot, aren’t you lot supposed to be encouraging people to drink?”

“Nah, mate, you’ve got it all wrong. We’ve been sent by the Government. Every time someone like you ends up with a liver that looks like a burst tyre from a ride-on lawnmower, it costs the NHS the equivalent of a medium-sized lottery win. A middle-aged financial liability, sunshine, that’s what you are.”

“Right then! I’m not staying around here to be insulted. I’m going home for few cans and a bite to eat.”

What if that wasn’t the end of it, though? What if you were just settling down to a post-pub light snack when your plate said: “Hmm, microwave full-fat pepperoni, kebab and baked bean pizza again.”

“And?” you’d ask.

“That’ll do wonders for your circulation. You diet makes me feel unhealthy and I don’t even have a digestive tract or arteries. You’re so filled with fat and cholesterol that there’ll soon come a day when eating anything with lard in it counts as cannibalism.”

“Well, as I’m a human and you’re a plate, I’m still in charge here. You’re going in the sink and I’m having a Pot Noodle.”

“Really? Well, the forks have asked me to tell you to put them down and go for a walk.”