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September 21, 2018

We are reduced to this now

On Monday this week, just as I was about to finish my show on East FM, my colleagues Seema and Irfan, who do the show after me, walked in and we exchanged the usual after-weekend pleasantries and caught up with each other. Then, as Seema started scrolling through her phone, she suddenly blurted out that she’s fed up of Siri (the automated voice control thingie that Apple phones have and apparently make your life easier by jumping at your commands) because it just never followed what she asked of it.

She took a good five minutes trying to command it to call her mother and it kept asking which mother she wanted to call. Actually it kept asking about ‘Mom’ as opposed to ‘Mum’. I was glad to note Seema is a British English person though I’m yet to figure out what they mean by American English. It’s only English and the Americans decided to adapt it because adding an extra ‘u’ to most words is a lot of work.

Anyway, I told her it was possible to change Siri’s language to British English from the settings so that it would understand her command for Mum so as she fiddled with her settings, Irfan comes up with a more than smug look on his face and pulls out his Android device and decides to voice command Google into doing something.

Seema and I (total Apple fans) stop what we are doing just to look up at him, very expectantly, half wondering if his device will conjure out a meal from KFC, and then we burst out laughing. His device froze and his voice command was not recognised. Amidst peals of our laughter and Irfan’s protests that it works, we did realise that we are now reduced to talking to our devices instead of each other. I even admitted to talking to Siri in the middle of the night to get strange yet entertaining answers when I’m insomniac. Try it. It’s quite hilarious at times.

As I write that out, the irony also dawns on me that to cure my middle of the night loneliness, I’m reduced to talking to the voice commands on my phone instead of nudging someone awake to chat with me. Gone are the days when one would count sheep and slowly ease back to sleep. Now the glare of the hand held devices is so strong that it is impossible to fall back asleep as soon as you put it down. I know this from experience!

I’m already thinking of my New Year resolutions for 2016 and I’m thinking of putting “Be more communicative with humans’ as one of them. By this, I mean that I should visit people more often, talk to them, be with them and have more fun doing things with humans instead of checking my Twitter feed and playing Bejewelled Blitz to try and beat my last high score. I should try and put my device away and stop replying on it so much and make an effort to do things I used to before my phone started to take over my life.

I have put a reminder on my phone for all this.

Have a great weekend!

Twitter: @kamz26

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