Smart Machines

Dear Reader,

For decades, leaders in the entertainment industry have foretold the consequences of inventing machines whose intellectual capacity will eventually combine with self-awareness and free will, culminating in unstoppable power that will wreak havoc on the weak human minds that carelessly created them. 2001: A Space Odyssey, I-Robot, Terminator, Terminator 2, Terminator 3, Terminators 4-10, Finding Nemo, the recent box-office bomb Eagle Eye, and various other films have given insight into the inevitability of such a catastrophic end.

I have been told that so-called “scientists” have also considered this possibility, but I’m fully aware that their intellect pales in comparison to those in the entertainment industry. Really, who listens to scientists these days when their geeky claims are asserted next to Hollywood legend Arnold Swartzenegger, belting out with unquestionable authority the words “I’ll BE BACK!” (And his prophecy came to fruition: He did come back, just a few short years later, in Terminator 3!)

Yet I didn’t realize just how pervasive this too-smart machine epidemic had become until today, as I attempted to leave a well-intentioned but admittedly raucous rendition of “Happy Birthday” on my friend’s voice mail machine. After all, friends don’t judge, and I knew my pal would be gloriously happy to hear my tone-deaf harmony as it drifted cacophonously through the phone lines.

Her voice mail machine, however…….not so happy. Just a few bars into my song, a cold automated female abruptly cut me off with a simple: GOODBYE. This female did not offer me so much as an explanation. Nor did said female offer an apology, or even a suggestion that I take voice lessons. Simply: GOODBYE.

How did this automated woman know the depths of my poor serenading capabilities? Who taught her to evaluate the song coming through the receiver; who instructed her to shun voice mails that didn’t meet the minimum criteria for pleasant aural reception??

What’s next? Will my radio start changing my station selections? Will my computer log me off when it knows I haven’t yet finished my laundry? Will the candy machine in the recyclying room at my apartment laugh at me and deny me my Hershey’s bar because it knows I cheated and ate two at work already?? Will I REALLY have to go with Arnold Schwarzzeneger if I want to live???

(Or was my experience with my friend’s voice mail today a random occurrence that I read too much into?)

–Troi out

One Response

  1. Mr. Perfect Says:

    I’m a long time reader, first time caller and I must tell you, Troi, that you may have misquoted Schwarzzeneger. You read, he first said “I’ll be back” in The Terminator (1), where he immediately “came back”. You state that he “did come back, just a few short years later, in Terminator 3” which is true in reality but not according to the “prophecy” which was created and fulfilled in the original film. Keep up the good work, I’m a huge fan!

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