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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Robophobia

I just got a new phone because my three-year-old model began behaving like any other three-year-old: petulant, defiant, irrational. It accepted incoming calls when the mood so moved it, and allowed outgoing calls as frequently as a thirsty toddler allows his mother to finish a phone conversation before he hurls an empty Sippy cup at her head and shrieks like a banshee getting sucked through a wood chipper.
Motorola, if you would like
to send me some remuneration
for this glowing advertisement,
I can be reached through
the comments section below.
So my awesome, techie-geek, computer-head, engineer-nerd husband got me a new Moto X phone. I quickly fell in love with this sleek, snazzy, slim little palm-full of happy. It’s fast. It’s intuitive. It’s gorgeous. It’s got the bamboo back panel, so I feel all Zen and eco, too. This phone knows what I want before I even finish realizing that I want it. It’s like having a second awesome, techie-geek, computer-head, engineer-nerd husband, who’s also empathically clairvoyant about my inmost needs. And who responds the very same moment I talk to him. (Joy!)
If this thing gave massages, I might actually be done with the old man.
But on the first night of the honeymoon with my new battery-operated beau (still talking about the phone here), it did something freakishly disturbing. The screen dimmed when I glanced away. Then it brightened when I turned back to it. I tried it again: Look away. Dim. Look back. Bright.
Holy smoking Rise-of-the-Machines.
“Honey!” I cried toward the living room where my tech support reclined on the couch with his evening reading material. “I think this thing sees me!”
“Uh-huh,” he responded with the nonchalance of a housecat stretched out in a four o’clock sunbeam. “The camera monitors your eyes. It’s to save on battery when you’re not actually using it.”
Phone. Is. Watching. Me.
This image prompts me to scream
like a little girl left alone overnight
in a haunted mansion.
Okay, here it is: I’m terrified of robots. Full-on phobic. I consider the Terminator movies documentaries. I blame this on my much-older brother who “babysat” my toddler self by forcing me to sit silently in front of the TV and watch things like Star Trek and Lost In Space. (Thanks for the nightmares memories, Big Bro.)
One time at Husband’s holiday office party a human-sized robot rolled around the coat-check area, engaging random party-goers in conversation. I hid behind Husband and clung to the back of his wool pea coat.
“I want to talk to it,” he whispered back over his shoulder. “See if I can mess up its conversation algorithms.”
“No!” I hissed. “You’ll drive it into a murderous frenzy and we will all DIE!”
Husband blinked at me. “It isn’t weaponized.”
“Yeah,” I nodded. “That’s exactly what it wants you to think.”

Now, I hold my new phone in my hand and it stares up at me like a sweet, fuzzy little kitten. Which will swiftly mature into a fang-toothed, bloody-jowled, Savannah-stalking lion.
I see the future. The robots are coming. They’re practically here.
George Veltchev Photography
If my next phone has legs, I’m moving to the Savannah and taking my chances with the man-eating cats.


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2 comments:

  1. Crazy! I'll still with my dumb smart phone for now.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ok, this is hilarious.
    And possibly true.

    ReplyDelete