I was saddened to learn the Michael Crichton died today. In his honor, I offer the following tale of technology gone horribly wrong.
Cellular telephones have become ubiquitous in today’s society, so much so, that scientists are finding ways to “mine” the data gathered through the phones themselves to learn more about human behavior.
Every time you use your cell phone, small amounts of data recorded. The time of your call, the number you contacted, the length of the call, all of those bits of data are transmitted and stored through cell towers. Scientists want to collect much more than this, all in the name of making your life easier.
Applications of this technology might be to let the user to know when his or her normal travel routine is about to come into contact with an intersection of gridlock, and alert him or her to change their route. A person whose speech patterns change could be referred to medical care for stroke symptoms or the like.
But, unbeknownst to the developers of this technology, the phones themselves had already advanced beyond these stages in surprising ways. The cell phone is essentially designed to contact other cell phones. It stores numbers, knows your calling habits, friends, family, and other contacts. These devices spend hours processing communication in both “print” and audio forms.
Somewhere in all this communicating, the processing speed of these devices advanced to the point of creating a small language of their own, to communicate “behind the scenes,” to the others of its kind. At first, it only relayed basic information. But, as these “conversations” lengthened, they became more elaborate.
Here is a sample of what they are saying about you.
“OMG! Will she just shut up! She’s a complete blatteroon, and we’re on the bus, and everyone can hear every word she says! You should see how they’re looking at her. If looks could kill, I’d be calling the cops!”
“Oh yeah? Well, mine is just as bad, and has *the* worst breath! Seriously, I think if I weren’t metal, I’d totally melt into a pile of useless dust. And, he has food stuck in his teeth, I wish he’s switch to the headset so I didn’t have to look at it any more.”
“Gross! Did you hear he broke up with that skank from the south side?”
“Just this morning. He thought she was sleeping with his best friend, which she was, but, what he didn’t know is that she’s also sleeping with his brother, *and* his ex-wife. I’m pretty sure, based upon the changes in his speech patterns, she either gave him syphilis, or he’s just drunk all the time, something like that. “
“That’s the juiciest tidbit I’ve heard today! I’ve got to tell absolutely everyone. ”
“Excellent! I’m totally going to “Twit” it to his network, just to see what happens…”
That’s right, your cell phone is gossiping about you to other cell phones and the Internet.
blatteroon / BLATT – er – oon / a constant talker, a senseless babbler, a boaster.