Sunday, January 8, 2012

The beginning of the end...the machines are waking...

I have a fancy-pants smart phone and I'm suddenly scared that it might actually be smart. 

I've never been a huge fan of movies where the machines take over the world and destroy humanity.  If we're going to have some dramatic end, let's not have it at the hand of anything as boring as machines.  Medman would vote for zombies, my kids are convinced it's going to be monsters, but not machines.  Besides, in the movies the machines always end up looking like insects.  Yuck.

Anyway, to let my kids play on my phone I downloaded a Kid Zone app.  (Ok, this is only for Belle.  It's possible that D can already use my phone better than I can.)  This app lets you pick which games, videos, etc., you want your child to have access too and they can't get to any of the other parts of the phone.  That means Belle can not call Grandma.  Again.  You have to do something that takes dexterity, like draw a good Z on the screen before it will let you exit and actually use your phone.  Great idea, huh? 

Yesterday, in an attempt to keep her occupied while I finished my last blog post, I let her use Kid Mode.  I even added Angry Birds on there for her.  She was in e-heaven as she repeatedly shot her angry birds straight left off the screen, while the green pigs sat safely snickering off to the right. 

But then something went screwy.  I got my phone back and exited Kid Mode, but it seems my phone was reluctant to let me leave.  It did let me get back to the normal functions of my phone, but every single time I tried to exit any application, email, message, phone call or photo it popped up a little window saying, "Would you like to complete this action using Kid Mode?" 

No.  Not at all, thank you. 

So I checked the box that said something like, "Make this my DEFAULT" and then told it I did NOT want to use Kid Mode. 

But the next text message I closed?  Up popped the cheerful little box.  "Would you like to complete this action using Kid Mode?" 

NO.  Select same choices.  Push extra hard on the screen while checking "Make this my DEFAULT."

Got an email, read it, closed it.  Up popped the cheerful little box.  "Would you like to complete this action using Kid Mode?" 

Me:  Are you stupid?  NO.  Make this my Default. DO NOT USE KID MODE.

Phone (cheerfully): OK. 

Got an email.  Read it, closed it.   Yup, you know what happened.

I even went into the settings section to check that Kid Mode wasn't set up as a default.  Nope.  The Default option was sitting benignly greyed out.

I tried to show Medman my annoying problem and you'll NEVER GUESS what didn't pop up.  Sneaky frickin' machine.  Just acted totally normal. 

But this morning every time I touched the dang screen, up popped the cheerful little box.  "Would you like to complete this action using Kid Mode?" 

And after the 500th time doing this I felt my blood run cold and I quickly uninstalled Kid Mode.

It was happening.  Hollywood is right.  It is going to be the machines.

My phone was
  • ignoring the rules I set for it, 
  • wanting to stay continually in game playing mode 
  • and had just asked me the SAME QUESTION hundreds of time, even though it knew what I was going to say.

Artificial Intelligence has been born.  My phone has reached the intellectual level of my children.


  1. ...because if you don't like the answer you got the first 500 times, clearly it's because the human--I mean parent--hasn't figured out what the right answer is! I keep telling myself that my kids will eventually learn to reason. I like my technology, but I hold out less hope that I will ever be able to have a reasonable conversation with it.

  2. Your posts always make me LOL. Did you ever get it figured out?


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