Hilarious Letter Sent To The Guardian
A woman by the name of Dr Emma Wilson from Birmingham UK, sent a letter to the Guardian newspaper claiming that her 76 year old mother had experienced what could quite possibly be an “undiscovered threat to human life”. The story begins with her elderly mother quietly sitting alone trying to send a text message. After many failed attempts she shouted horrible expletives at the phone but she did not expect the phone to actually answer back?! The phone (presumably an iPhone with voice activated ‘intelligent assistant’ Siri installed) replied her frustrated yells with an eerily calm tone similar to that of HAL 9000 (**see footnotes below) to ask: “Have I done something wrong?” The elderly grandmother, who was neither expecting or even know such technology was possible (bearing in mind she had just been struggling to send a simple text) was overcome with shock and panic!
It was presumably in this state of shock that she called her daughter who reassured her and explained how the technology worked. However, seeing her mother distressed pushed her to write a letter of complaint to the Guardian newspaper, although, one might wonder why she didn’t address her complaints to Apple Inc. who are after all the makers of the phone and the creepy Siri technology that caused such distress?
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** HAL 9000 is a fictional character from the Space Odyssey series by Arthur C Clarke and later became a popular film with a big cult following called “2001: A Space Odyssey” which was directed by film legend, Stanley Kubrick. HAL stands for Heuristically programmed Algorithmic computer and is an artificially intelligent computer that controlled the systems of the spacecraft in the story. In the blockbuster film HAL 9000 (or simply HAL as it is often referred to), is mostly depicted as a camera lens with a large red dot and is voiced by a softly spoken male English speaker (Douglas Rain). Despite HAL’s soft calm demeanour, he is shown to have controlling, maniacal and possibly, murderous tendencies.
The hilarious letter sent to the Guardian.
“I am writing to inquire whether anyone else has experienced what I believe is a previously undiscovered threat to human life from over-engineering in new technology. My 76-year-old mother recently bought a new mobile phone. She was sitting quietly and alone in her house at night, trying – but repeatedly failing – to send a text using the unfamiliar system. She finally gave up in exasperation and shouted: “Well f*** off then” at the phone. Whereupon a voice replied, with the eerie calm hitherto only mastered by HAL: “Have I done something wrong?” She did not know the phone was equipped with a speech app and is still in a state of physical and emotional collapse.”
Dr Emma Wilson
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