The rise of the machines (HLD 305)

22 Jan 2021

I’ve had a few instances lately where my phone or iPad have just unilaterally decided to write something on my behalf.

On the first occasion, I can kind of work out what had happened – I must have left the phone in ‘answer message’ mode, and then carried on with my normal life and talked to my husband about whatever topic he wasn’t listening to that day.

When I next glanced at my phone, there in the message answering box was a pile of gobble-de-gook, one word of which I kind of recognised from the topic-of-the-day-that-my-husband-was-ignoring. I accused the phone of eavesdropping on private conversations that were quite frankly of interest to me and me alone, deleted the message, and then moved on.

But then on another occasion, I was in the middle of an online chat to someone, and my husband sitting a couch and a half away, was interacting with colleagues in an online platform (he wasn’t chatting, damnit!) – and his message appeared in MY online chat screen, and mine in his!!!!!!! Fortunately we realised what the situation was before we each pressed ‘send’, otherwise his work colleagues may have had an interesting and funny message about the Bridgerton series, and my friend may have got some boring engineeringy stuff and obviously would never have spoken to me again.

That one was really weird. He explained it to me as something to do with a family sharing setting, or iCloud, or something like that. I tuned out because I was busy glaring at my phone for going a bit rogue on me.

And then it happened on my iPad as well! A previous edition of HLD, which all get saved in our cloud thingy whatnot, had edited itself and deleted half of the content! I had logged on to print out those editions to send to the mothers, but the iPad had decided that edition was way too long and deleted all bar a couple of paragraphs!

My devices are getting a little bit too big for their boots, for my liking!!!

I saw the other day a post whereby you can let your phone or iPad write something for you. Predictive text in these devices nowadays suggests three words each time that COULD be what you might like to use, and the post gave people the first few words in a sentence and then let people see what their devices recommended.

For example, my phone helps write beyond the following words: The voices in my head tell me to get some sleep. Or Jesus said that you might be able to come over and pick up the kids. Can you please send me a picture of your phone? I drink because of a lot of farting.

What does your phone suggest for those sentences?

This was written by Heather, not her phone or iPad, by the way.

This time.

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