WOW – we live in a world where things are stranger and stranger. The great comedienne Anna Russell used the line “I’m not making this up, you know”, when she outlined the plot of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. What would she make of the world of 2017?
Yesterday I had a text message saying “Your appointment has been changed to 12:30 tomorrow. Please confirm by typing Y or N.” Ever the rebel, I texted back “Confrmed. I’ll be there”. Another text followed immediately: “Sorry – but I am a robot and I have trouble reading your message. Would you please reply in the format requested in the previous one”.
Now there is a Robot who is really pleasantly polite and even apologetic. What’s not to like? The same cannot be said of Ms. Conway’s newest alternative fact that people just might be listening to me over my microwave as I reheat the squash. Ouch The kinds of things we might say while cooking – after all many microwaves are above the stove – are not things that we would want our friends and family to hear – let alone Russian spies.
I’m reassured by this morning’s Wired that so far there is no existing microwave that can spy on anybody. As they also mention, there’s probably a Kickstarter site raising money to reconfigure one as we speak. But it does show how scared some people out there are. The New York Times article about Ms. Conway belongs in the entertainment section – not the breaking news. And beside that article we need a positive one on the politeness of certain robots.