Mariner tries not to complain too much but the AI world makes it hard not to complain. Not only will Alexi eavesdrop, it will be able to advise callers about your mood. Alexi could say to a sales person, “No, don’t try to call him today; he’s in a pissy mood.” Here’s a paragraph from Protocol, a systems newsletter:

“sales and customer service software companies including Uniphone and Sybill are building products that use AI in an attempt to help humans understand and to respond to human emotion. Virtual meeting powerhouse Zoom also plans to provide similar features in the future.”

As a young child living in Baltimore, Maryland, mariner remembers getting his family’s first telephone. It was the dial-with-your-finger type. The number was BElmont 647. It sat on a wooden end table that mariner still uses to hold his printer. Mariner lived in Iowa during the sixties; he experienced the phenomenon of speaking to a human telephone operator to make a call. As if it were an omen of the future, there were party lines then – while you may call one person, six or seven could be listening.

Does the reader remember during the seventies that Bell Telephone offered a videophone that flopped because no one wanted to use it?

Thanks to Bluetooth technology, we no longer have to hold a phone in our hands. We can talk to our car instead or have a cigarette butt hanging out of an ear. But it hasn’t stopped here. Already on the market are eyeglasses with an embedded internet screen. By tracking a person’s eye movement, the glasses will allow one to play all those games on the smartphone. Fortunately, automobiles will drive themselves – something has to keep track of reality.

Now . . . is the reader ready to live in metaland? Mariner wonders whether telephones will come along.

– – – –

Thanks to the readers who responded to the puzzle challenge. All the respondents had it right: 27 bananas. Thanks, too, for advising mariner about the meaning of Niels Bohr’s statement on profundity.

Maybe mariner will be able to buy a few acres and a pony when he must move to Metaland.

Ancient Mariner


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