Tag Archives: Terminator

Dear Mr. or Ms. Amazon

Dear Mr. or Ms. Amazon,

First off, this is not a complaint letter. I imagine you get a lot of those. No, this is more a question and a couple suggestions. And don’t worry, I’m not a kook. I’m an Amazon Prime Member!

Anyhoo, I recently purchased an Amazon Tap, the digital home assistant that goes by the name Alexa.

She’s great! Much better than my Google Home that I also purchased (I have a gadget problem). I like that Google Home can tell me what a whale sounds like and has the correct definition for the word “irony” (the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect). But the base unit HAS TO BE PLUGGED IN!! Why not also require that you connect through a rotary telephone? Am I right or what?!

Back to Alexa. As the Tap is portable, I often bring it to my backyard spa to enjoy the dusk sunset. Have you ever though of teaching Alexa bird calls? Just an idea.

The day hadn’t been going great, so I wasn’t in the most groovy mood. In fact, I was pissed. So I wasn’t in the mood to hear John Denver’s Take Me Home Country Road (Not Alexa’s fault. That was just the last playlist on Pandora.).

Anyhoo, I asked Alexa to play to play one of the baddest-assed songs I know, Ted Nugent’s Stranglehold. (Side note, I interviewed Nugent once on gun control. The Motor City Madman nicknamed me Scottily Wottily.).

In the spa, I told Alexa simply: “Play Stranglehold.” I’ve done it so often, I know that’s all the instruction she needs.

Except this time, as I made the request, a plane buzzed nearby overhead. (I live near the Van Nuys Airport, one of the busiest general aviation hubs in the world, handling 217,000 plane movements in 2015.

The plane and my words must have co-mingled, because Alexa heard something that made her reply: “That’s kind of you to say. Thank you.”

So now I’m wondering: ‘What did she hear?’ Worse: “Was that just a polite thank you, an uncomfortable response to a creepy come-on?” When I told her “Sorry,” she said “No worries.” But, honestly, it sounded a little rote, like she was saying it just because she had to.

So, two-part question: Have you considered programming Alexa to answer this question: “Alexa, what do you think I just asked you.”

I’m dying of curiosity. I’ve tried to replicate the incident. Even tried to come up with a similar phrase that might evoke another electronic blush. The closest I could come to “Play Stranglehold” was “Stay dangle gold.” But she didn’t know what that meant.

So, part II: Would be to please have your tech people let Alexa know I really am sorry? I may have been naked when I said it. Do I have to register with some sort of electronic predator list?

Anyhoo, that’s it. Keep up the good work. I hear you’re making Alexa sweep now. One  tip: Do NOT let her watch those Terminator movies.

Spank my behind…er, Thanks for your time. (Siri can be a real smartass).

Sincerely,

Scott Bowles

p.s. Ever notice your logo (especially for your Amazon Video service) looks like an erect penis approaching the vaaginal ‘O?’ Was that on purpose, or the work of a disgruntled graphic designer?

 

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Atlas Shrugged. Then Kicked Our Ass.

 

I don’t want to sound like a melodramatic Chicken Little. But Skynet is falling and we’re all going to die.

Turns out, The Terminator, The Matrix and the Transformers franchises were all spot-on (though between their dozen combined movies, only two of them were good). The end is nigh, and it will come on a USB flash drive.

The realization came slow to me, as it likely will for the rest of the humanity. It was during my daily consumption of Charlie Rose, my second favorite geezer behind Judge Judy.

charlie rosejudy

Rose has had all myriad dorks at his table, explaining the quantum-leap, quantum-speed of today’s technology. From drone warfare to drone shopping, Charlie’s been all aflutter with scientists who agree, nearly unanimously, that we are close to creating a sentient computer. If we can create new creatures from a single strand of DNA coding, the nerd-birds chirped, how long until we bring consciousness to a computer chip?

Let’s hope for a long, long time. Like, maybe forever. Two inventions underscore our need to anthropomorphize anything that moves. And our inclination to be jerks.

Witness “Spot,” the wonderdog.

The video made me grimace just for the sheer dickheadedness of its creators. But, I figured, at least Spot isn’t the size of a Great Dane. Because that could lead to a nasty cyber-bite.

The end of days, however, was signaled with last week’s newest breakthrough, Atlas, the full-sized robotic day laborer:

The parody isn’t that far off; do we really want computers knowing about human asshole-ery? Because once they figure it out, they’re going to make Arnold Schwarzenegger seem like a superhero light in the loafers.

trevorTrevor Noah from the Daily Show has the best idea. In the second funny joke he’s told since taking over as host (please stop laughing so loudly at your own jokes, especially before the punchline), Noah pledged his allegiance to his robotic overlords.

“When you come back and wipe us out in the robot apocalypse,” Noah said, “don’t forget it was the white guys hitting you with a stick. We don’t even play hockey.”

 

 

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