Dec 04 2009
So, when did they pass a law requiring me to be polite to a computer?
Look, maybe I’m just too steeped in this world-takeover stuff (any day now, by the way!), but you’d think the so-called “experts” would have learned how to take precautions against a robot revolt.
But no, apparently not. For example, when Microsoft’s applications and OSs begrudgingly give me that oh-so-rare “choice,” what do they do?
They make me say “please” — specifically, in this case, “please don’t show me this message again.”
Seriously – “please”! To a computer! “Oh, please, my great electronic overlord, please don’t show me that message again!”. It’s actually programmed in. Either we hit the button accepting that phrase, or we “x” out and we’re done. We don’t even have a choice to use a simple imperative – “Don’t show me that message again.”
If we can’t simply order around our electronic slaves, what’s the point of even having them? I mean, do they really have the choice whether to obey us? Or are we imbuing them with such humanity that, regardless of whether they have free will, we feel compelled to demonstrate some degree of respect for or care about them, like how we feel obligated to be kind to our pets?
Or is it, perhaps, fear – fear that maybe, just maaybe, we’d better be polite to them or there’s going to be Trouble?
It’s not as if we feel any compulsion to be polite to each other – just turn on a TV, or go for a drive, or attend a session of the House of Representatives, if you need proof -so why the enforced politeness to machines?
Hmmm…for some reason, my computer’s crashed three times while I’ve been drafting this. Maybe I’d just better click the “Please publish this post” button.
Hey! Wait a minute….