Wednesday, July 7, 2010

On the Ground @Ft. Myers ... Dying

Yes, that’s the Google IM I received from my husband after his flight on Tuesday.

on the ground @ft myers … dying

At first this conjured images of plane wreckage and other horrible scenarios, but I quickly realized that if my husband were really dying, he wouldn’t have wasted precious moments of life typing the ellipses. I thought maybe he’d accidentally hit send before the end of the sentence, and I would discover he was merely “dying for a soda” or “dying from the heat” – but nevertheless “dying” only in a hyperbolic sense.

In fact, the next line he typed was STUPID AUTO CORRECT.

Turns out, he was trying to type fyi and the Droid “corrected” it for him.

I have noticed for some time that our machines are starting to think for themselves, and what’s more worrying, they think they’re smarter than we are. I admit, it’s handy to have my computer save me some time by auto-filling in my addresses – until it sends some crucial email to the wrong person. And yes, I love that I can program my DVR to catch any new episode of The Office or House – and if they ever make a new episode of 10 Items or Less and air it, my DVR will be smart enough to record it. But in a way, it’s kind of scary that the DVR will do stuff without checking with me first.

The copier at work already thinks it’s smarter than I am.

Dianne: (Tries to make 8x11 copy of one small section of a larger poster.)
Copier: INSERT 12X18 PAPER
Dianne: I don’t want 12x18 paper. (Stabs some buttons.)
Dianne: I don’t want #%*# 12x18 paper. (Stabs some buttons.)
Copier: #^%# YOU AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON (Jams up the paper.)

Remember all those B-grade sci-fi movies about robots taking over the world? Remember HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey? We haven’t quite reached that point yet, but it’s coming. Sooner or later, we're going to find ourselves on the wrong side of the airlock door "for our own good."

Already, the thermostat in my house overrides me. The car *tells on me* during its annual check-up if I don’t screw the gas cap on tight enough. And the Droid phone insists my dog Sorcia’s name is spelled Special and my husband is dying at Ft. Myers.

How has YOUR technology corrected you lately?

By the way -- the winner of the signed copy of The Second Date will be announced on Thursday!


  1. Hahahahaha. My phone tries to control my thoughts when I text. I hate it and often want to throw it in the toilet. Oh wait, I've already done that.

  2. Yes, I swear my typos are caused by my computer. At least that's my story and I'm sticking with it. ;)

  3. I don't want my machines to think for me because more often than not their "corrections" take time to clean up (when they'll let me clean them up).

    Some day, I expect to come home and find that I not only have a recording of the latest episode of HOUSE, but that "the system" has decided to helpfully record a two-hour special called NAUGHTY NURSES LOSE THEIR CLOTHES because it also has doctors in it.


    P.S. My printer doesn't grok the concept of my wanting to print a section of a larger graphic without first inserting larger paper.

  4. My phone does that if I text. My word document program does that every time I write. I just thought technology doesn't like me. But now it makes sense -- it's trying to control me! ...That doesn't really make me feel much better.

  5. Hilarious story! I especially love the copier exchange, I have that conversation with the printer all the time.

  6. Oh my iPhone adores playing tricks on me... instead of writing love it writes live instead of writing pancakes it writes tinpats (LIKE IT'S A WORD!) don't ask why I type pancakes so much

    Oh and we must have the same copier because it seriously plays mind games on me!