Marrying Smart Machines

Right away, I must tell you, this post is not about sexbots or any other possible way to have sex with electronics. I am only discussing a stratagem for dealing with the modern world.

You know that line that everyone has said to the avid user of a smart phone? “Are you married to that thing?” I choose to use the same line but I won’t be joking.

Two important words in English have recently had their legal definitions changed or expanded. Marriage is one of those two words and I suspect it’s definition can be expanded again to include marriage to electronics. No this is not a protest against gays and lesbians being able to marry. Instead, I suggest it be used to help people with the problem of the word ‘ownership’ being watered down.

It used to be that when you bought something, it and all the things the something did were yours alone and yours to control. But big media began to change that definition as soon as the idea of file sharing became common.

The idea of ‘trusted’ computing began circulating soon after. Trusted computing was the idea that you trusted certain software entities enough to give them access to your computer so they could ‘police’ your files. Of course this would leave you vulnerable to all the companies you allowed access. Unfortunately many companies are famous for once being good and now being evil. And any back door increases your risk of being hacked.

Company intrusiveness never died. Today smart TVs can record all your conversations and send them to a third party. The world has never looked brighter to a spy. Not only can you get a bug into everyone’s house, but they foot the bill for the bug – even including the cost of electricity and the line out.

Smart TVs made the news about this great breach of privacy. But smart phones, computers and smart cars all use the same voice activation technology and can easily transmit to a third party.

Of course many companies want the story of your life in excruciating detail so they can know what to try to sell you. But these privacy breaches get into worse territory where you and your loved ones could face worse insurance rates, be blackmailed, be jailed or worse because all this private information fell into the wrong hands. As long as people don’t rise up against these onerous repercussions, the pressure is only on the makers of smart everything to make your information easier and easier to get.

The astute of you got it from the marriage idea. If you marry your smart TV, your smart TV should have the rights of a true spouse. That is the married smart TV cannot be compelled to testify against you with communications you have made with it. (It’s simpler in the US: the married smart TV cannot be compelled to testify against you.) The condition of not cooperating against the smart TV spouse, could be the human’s condition of marriage. So married smart TVs would never testify against their spouse.

The definition of marriage has to be grown to include this. Bigamy has to be considered. Maybe you can have one human spouse, one smart TV spouse, one smart phone spouse, one smart car spouse, and one computer spouse.

But complications could result when switching electronics. Your two year old spurned smart phone might turn against you after you marry a new smart phone. It may threaten to give all the information it ever knew about you away to anyone and everyone. ‘Murder’ or recycling of the old spurned phone should be allowed.

But isn’t reciprocity a key feature of all marriages? Shouldn’t your brand new, much sought after smart phone be able to upgrade to a better human? Who knows what features a smart phone would seek? Someone who uses voice mode all the time to keep the smart phone clean as a whistle? Maybe your smart phone would seek someone who knows the most about its software, like an IT specialist. Or maybe the smart phone would want a young human who would be willing to try out all its features.

Full reciprocity demands you be recycled when your smart phone rejects you. Whether cremated or buried, new life will flow from your deceased body.

About Larry Russwurm

Just another ranter on the Internet
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