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Thread: Really trivial stuff that amuses you...

  1. #11071
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    A reminder ...

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  2. #11072
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    Yet I continue to get my weather forecasts from the smartwife. She keeps up with them much better than I.
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  3. #11073
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Apparently the bears aren't waiting till the 30th; I just checked and several are already chowing down.
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  4. #11074
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    If I leave the house without my wristwatch, I have to go back and get it. Otherwise I'll end up looking at my bare wrist several times per hour. Old habit, indelible.
    Last edited by DonM435; 2020-Sep-25 at 10:33 PM. Reason: Replying to stuff on the previous page ... I missed one!

  5. #11075
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    Yet I continue to get my weather forecasts from the smartwife. She keeps up with them much better than I.
    The whole creepy "smart wife" thing is one of the reasons I remove or suppress these entities in devices I own. I realize tech companies aren't the most socially adept organizations, but did they really miss the whole of feminism?

    Grant Hutchison

  6. #11076
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    The whole creepy "smart wife" thing is one of the reasons I remove or suppress these entities in devices I own. I realize tech companies aren't the most socially adept organizations, but did they really miss the whole of feminism?

    Grant Hutchison
    The Digital Stepford Wife.

    My nephew's phone has the option to change the voice response. He makes his digital assistant sound like Sir Patrick Stewart.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  7. #11077
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    That’s an odd way to put it. They are way too machine-like for me to think of them as anything more. As I mentioned before, I have my echo dot set to respond to “computer.” It basically feels like talking to a star trek computer but is less sophisticated. “Computer” is also more of a description and less of a name than “Alexa.”

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  8. #11078
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    That’s an odd way to put it. They are way too machine-like for me to think of them as anything more.
    They're machines designed to emulate human behaviour in a very specific way. I'm not big into talking to inanimate objects anyway, but Siri et al. set my teeth on edge specifically because their programmers seem to have felt that the Stepford Wives were a pretty cool idea.

    I'm certainly not the only person to have had such an aversive response. UNESCO recently produced a report entitled "The Rise of Gendered AI and its Troubling Repercussions", and MIT Press has just published a book entitled "The Smart Wife: Why Siri, Alexa, and Other Smart Home Devices Need a Feminist Reboot".

    Grant Hutchison

  9. #11079
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    I largely don't know what day of the week it is, let alone what time!
    Ok, that's only half true. I pretty much know what time it is; generally less than the time I want it to be when I can get up, eat, stop exercising, take a nap, or have a glass of wine. And by "glass", I mean "plastic cup".
    As to days of the week, if some of my webcomics fail to update, it's probably Saturday.
    Why yes, I am retired!

    There are two watches on my desk in front of me. One is a Westclox "Bulls Eye" pocket watch; the other my wristwatch made by...um, I'll have to look. Ok, "Citizen". I haven't worn it in a week or two.
    I choose my wristwatches based on the following criteria:
    1. The old one ain't working and probably ain't worth a battery.
    2. The new one isn't huge. That's surprisingly difficult to find in mens' watches. Why does everyone think I need a watch that's two inches in diameter, 1/2 inch thick, and weighs about a pound?
    3. Costs less than US$100.00. It's a thing that tells the time, why should I pay thousands for it?
    4. No, it doesn't need sixteen extra functions. I have a smartphone. And I use about .04% of the functions on that!

    "Bulls Eye" is for sentimental value. I bought it in college more than 50 years ago. I carried it in Basic Training for the US Army, where it served most of the platoon as a means of telling when "fireguard" duty should change to the next guy. Because there was no clock in the barracks and they didn't have wristwatches.
    Every morning after fireguard, it'd be an hour or three ahead and I'd adjust it.

    I'm pretty certain I told the whole fireguard story here recently, but who cares?
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  10. #11080
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    I have at least five wristwatches.
    They all have dead batteries.

  11. #11081
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    They're machines designed to emulate human behaviour in a very specific way. I'm not big into talking to inanimate objects anyway, but Siri et al. set my teeth on edge specifically because their programmers seem to have felt that the Stepford Wives were a pretty cool idea.
    I would suggest they thought the Star Trek computer interface was a cool idea, and I do too. Heck, I remember reading an article that Star Trek was one of Bezos’ favorite shows, and Bezos wanted them to work on a voice interface system to be like it. To me, that was exciting news. A few years later, Alexa showed up as well as Siri.

    Anyway, I never have thought of a Stepford wife comparison when using these things. It is a limited voice interface with a device, not a humanoid robot that can do most things a human can and even fool you into thinking they are human.

    I like them for a limited number of tasks where a voice interface is the better option, like setting a timer in the kitchen when my hands are wet or greasy or adding an item to a grocery list.

    I'm certainly not the only person to have had such an aversive response. UNESCO recently produced a report entitled "The Rise of Gendered AI and its Troubling Repercussions", and MIT Press has just published a book entitled "The Smart Wife: Why Siri, Alexa, and Other Smart Home Devices Need a Feminist Reboot".
    Uh huh. If they want male voice options, that’s already happening in some cases, and seems perfectly reasonable to me, but if it amounts to not being able to give the device commands anymore or some other similar nonsense, that would just be a good way to destroy the purpose of the things. I have other thoughts on this, but they aren’t appropriate for the thread.

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  12. #11082
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    Really trivial stuff that amuses you...

    In our kitchen, we have an echo dot that we received as a gift. It works well for timers and reminders. I just wish it would stop trying to pretend it is a person. I get a strong uncanny valley type of response whenever it says something like “Enjoy your weekend “ after I ask it the outdoor temperature.
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

  13. #11083
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    I have at least five wristwatches.
    They all have dead batteries.
    I have one. It doesn't have any batteries.
    A: "Things that are equal to the same are equal to each other"
    B: "The two sides of this triangle are things that are equal to the same"
    C: "If A and B are true, Z must be true"
    D: "If A and B and C are true, Z must be true"
    E: "If A and B and C and D are true, Z must be true"

    Therefore, Z: "The two sides of this triangle are equal to each other"

  14. #11084
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    In our kitchen, we have an echo dot that we received as a gift. It works well for timers and reminders. I just wish it would stop trying to pretend it is a person. I get a strong uncanny valley type of response whenever it says something like “Enjoy your weekend “ after I ask it the outdoor temperature.
    Yes, the particular repertoire of "pretending to be human" responses with which these things are imbued is what people object to, not the mere fact they have a default female voice. (Some of the more ghastly stereotype-confirming tropes have actually been modified in the light of feedback from users, which is progress, I suppose.)

    Sidling back in the direction of amusement, Siri has made me laugh aloud on one occasion, though not through any ingenuity of her programmed responses.
    Under normal circumstances, I spend a week with my hillwalking buddies every summer. We have a set of bluetooth speakers, and take turns playing music in the evening. One member of the party always receives negative feedback because of his pedestrian musical tastes, and in a fit of affected frustration one night he bellowed at his phone: "Hey Siri, play something groovy for these guys."
    To which he received the reply, "I'm sorry, I can't find something groovy in your music collection."
    Our point exactly.

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2020-Sep-26 at 01:15 PM.

  15. #11085
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    In our kitchen, we have an echo dot that we received as a gift. It works well for timers and reminders. I just wish it would stop trying to pretend it is a person. I get a strong uncanny valley type of response whenever it says something like “Enjoy your weekend “ after I ask it the outdoor temperature.
    Yeah, I completely understand. We have an elevator in the building where I work, and if you push the button and it takes more than a certain amount of time to reach you, it says, "I'm sorry to have kept you waiting" when the doors open. And I'm like, "You don't have feelings, so how can you be sorry about something?" But somehow it never seems to register my complaint.
    As above, so below

  16. #11086
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    One member of the party always receives negative feedback because of his pedestrian musical tastes, and in a fit of affected frustration one night he bellowed at his phone: "Hey Siri, play something groovy for these guys."
    To which he received the reply, "I'm sorry, I can't find something groovy in your music collection."
    Our point exactly.
    The funny thing is that since Siri presumably does not understand what makes a song "groovy," it probably looked in the music collection that contained the word "groovy," so if he had had "Feelin' Groovy" or "Groovy Tuesday" in the collection, she would have probably chosen those, even though neither song is particularly groovy...
    As above, so below

  17. #11087
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    OR, the really simple method ...

    Turn to the person nearest you and ask, "What time is it?"
    Which works well if the person nearest you is wearing a watch.
    As above, so below

  18. #11088
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    The funny thing is that since Siri presumably does not understand what makes a song "groovy," it probably looked in the music collection that contained the word "groovy," so if he had had "Feelin' Groovy" or "Groovy Tuesday" in the collection, she would have probably chosen those, even though neither song is particularly groovy...
    Yes, we assumed it had searched for a song entitled "Something Groovy" and come up empty.
    There was then some discussion about what would have constituted a groovy song, and we realized that none of us had a clue what "groovy" actually meant, including the person who'd asked for "something groovy". Nor could he account for his spontaneous use of the word, which he felt he'd probably never uttered in his life up to that evening.

    Grant Hutchison

  19. #11089
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Yes, we assumed it had searched for a song entitled "Something Groovy" and come up empty.
    There was then some discussion about what would have constituted a groovy song, and we realized that none of us had a clue what "groovy" actually meant, including the person who'd asked for "something groovy". Nor could he account for his spontaneous use of the word, which he felt he'd probably never uttered in his life up to that evening.
    Yeah, I don't think that "groovy" is a well-defined concept. It's kind of like "cool." "Cool" is a word that you use when someone plays you something they wrote and you like it. I don't think anyone could make a list of "cool" songs because it is really an expression of your inner feelings rather than a property of the song.
    As above, so below

  20. #11090
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    I did discover in college that the response to “I’m stressed, Siri” is “Why don’t you take some deep breaths and lie down?” It was a nice thing to hear during finals, even from an AI.
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  21. #11091
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Yeah, I don't think that "groovy" is a well-defined concept. It's kind of like "cool." "Cool" is a word that you use when someone plays you something they wrote and you like it. I don't think anyone could make a list of "cool" songs because it is really an expression of your inner feelings rather than a property of the song.
    I don't think I've ever said "cool" either. There was a window of a couple of decades in my part of the world when it was catastrophically uncool to say "cool", and that coincided with my formative years with regard to slang acquisition.

    Grant Hutchison

  22. #11092
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Yes, the particular repertoire of "pretending to be human" responses with which these things are imbued is what people object to, not the mere fact they have a default female voice. (Some of the more ghastly stereotype-confirming tropes have actually been modified in the light of feedback from users, which is progress, I suppose.)

    Sidling back in the direction of amusement, Siri has made me laugh aloud on one occasion, though not through any ingenuity of her programmed responses.
    Under normal circumstances, I spend a week with my hillwalking buddies every summer. We have a set of bluetooth speakers, and take turns playing music in the evening. One member of the party always receives negative feedback because of his pedestrian musical tastes, and in a fit of affected frustration one night he bellowed at his phone: "Hey Siri, play something groovy for these guys."
    To which he received the reply, "I'm sorry, I can't find something groovy in your music collection."
    Our point exactly.

    Grant Hutchison
    Back in the 90's, I had a computer that could accept voice commands. It was notorious for having a limited number of responses and a clunky way of adding new responses with code.

    I could ask it for the weather, but what it actually did was really funny. The parsing software could retrieve local information, but couldn't verify it. It could download information for local use, but didn't know what it already had. So a request for the weather would result in the computer downloading a file and reading it aloud. Because this was back in the 90s, this meant activating the modem, dialing a number, syncing with the service, making the download request, waiting for the file, closing the connection and finally, reading the text to me five minutes after I asked (on a good day). I never found a way to have the computer read a file it already had without specifically telling it the file name which ruins the experience, but if it downloaded a new file it would happily read it without a verbal reference.

    When the wait between request and answer is five minutes, there is no way to fill that awkward silence. I find it rather surprising that many of the tricks I tried to cover that delay are common place today as "humanizing elements" for digital assistants.

    I like my digital assistant a lot, probably for all of the reasons I wanted to talk to a computer back in the 90s. However, even these machines have uncanny valley problems. We have a problem where these devices will preferentially answer me over other users, sometimes with different answers. My son heard me ask, "what's the temperature?" and get an answer of "32 degrees". When he asked, it would read the wikipedia page on temperature. A less funny response is when I will ask a question of a speaker close to me and the response will come out of the closest speaker to me, which usually a cell phone in someone's pocket. My oldest son hates it when his cell phone not only talks to me, but uses my name. It's less funny when it happens to guests. Especially, when that person has turned off the voice response because it weirds them out. It shouldn't be listening at all, let alone calling me by name. I think this glitch is a "wifi thing", where the victim has been given my wifi password and the machine assumes that all things on that network are "mine". My phone never responds to my kids.
    Solfe

  23. #11093
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    The whole creepy "smart wife" thing is one of the reasons I remove or suppress these entities in devices I own.
    Yes...but I meant the actual, flesh-and-blood smart wife. She has a thing for weather. She has often her nose in the weather apps and makes a point of catching forecasts on television. She also has an uncanny ability to recall our experiences. For instance, if we talk about our vacation from a couple of years ago, I can say with certainty that we did indeed have a vacation and I can summarize the highlights with some confidence. But as I get deeper into the details, I'm much less certain. My wife, she remembers dates, what we had for breakfast, perhaps the names of people we met briefly, and yes...the weather.

    She also has a fascination with severe weather, especially, hurricanes. A Minnesota gal, she never lived in a coastal area until moving to Alaska which isn't exactly prone to hurricanes. But we do get winds...and sometimes hurricane force winds but the worst of them are usually on the "hillside" part of Anchorage well south of us. I joke that we live on "the other hillside" because the winds don't often turn the corner to come to our house. When they do, though, my wife gets a bit excited. In another life, I think she might have become a storm chaser.

    Back to the technological smartwife, I'm reminded of the first Pocket PC I owned. My wife named it Betty, as in, "I bet he takes it with him when we go to the store." And I usually did.

    I realize tech companies aren't the most socially adept organizations, but did they really miss the whole of feminism?
    I don't know about other devices but my iPhone allows me to select Siri's voice gender and one of a half-dozen accents. I just haven't figured out how to change the name to Jarvis.
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  24. #11094
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    Yes...but I meant the actual, flesh-and-blood smart wife.
    Oops. My apologies to you and the missus. It's unfortunate that the phrase "smart wife" has just accreted another meaning.

    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    I don't know about other devices but my iPhone allows me to select Siri's voice gender and one of a half-dozen accents.
    Yes. IIRC there are even countries in which Apple sets Siri to default to a male voice, for cultural reasons.
    The reason all these entities have female voices as default in most Western countries is driven by market research--focus groups and surveys show that people are more willing to interact with female voices, because they feel that they are being helped (whereas male voices saying the same words make people feel that they are being instructed). So the choice of default voice is in itself a response to a kind of stereotypical perception of gender roles. But superimposed on that, there's this whole thing of the developers writing awkward little scripts for their entities, to make them "seem more human"--all the stuff about wishing people happy birthday and advising them on dealing with stress, and so on. It's those weird little "I'm human" fillips where all the gender-stereotypical stuff goes on that many people have complained about, and on which the United Nations, for crying out loud, has felt moved to write a discussion document.

    Grant Hutchison

  25. #11095
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    I hate it when a program gives a rote response and tries to make it sound "friendly." It's far worse with a vocal response.
    App: "Uh-oh! You seem to have entered an invalid number. Kindly try again, won't you?"
    App: "Uh-oh! You seem to have entered an invalid number. Kindly try again, won't you?"
    App: "Uh-oh! You seem to have entered an invalid number. Kindly try again, won't you?"
    Me: "Shut up, you [rude adjective] [rude noun]!"
    App: "Uh-oh! You seem to have entered an invalid number. Kindly try again, won't you?"
    ...

  26. #11096
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    ... But we do get winds...and sometimes hurricane force winds but the worst of them are usually on the "hillside" part of Anchorage well south of us. I joke that we live on "the other hillside" because the winds don't often turn the corner to come to our house. When they do, though, my wife gets a bit excited. In another life, I think she might have become a storm chaser. ...
    Speaking of ...

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/to...k2P?li=BBnb7Kz

    Might wanna keep an eye on the wife.
    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.
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  27. #11097
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Speaking of ...

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/to...k2P?li=BBnb7Kz

    Might wanna keep an eye on the wife.
    She happened to walk past the office door as I was reading this, so I asked her if she'd seen the report. She replied "Yes..." in a decidedly dejected tone. I remarked, "You sound disappointed" and she said, "Yeah, it's not supposed to affect us much." That's my girl.
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  28. #11098
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    I am apparently safe from being murdered by my wife for a while at least. Today I had to tell her the time the shops were opening. (Today is a Public Holiday here - the "Queens Birthday". It is celebrated on 4 different dates in the various Australian States and Territories with none of them being her actual birthdate.) She also said she was happy with me doing the majority of the cooking plus most research for our holidays. So she told me she wouldn't bump me off while I was still useful.

  29. #11099
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    So she told me she wouldn't bump me off while I was still useful.
    Quick, be useful!
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  30. #11100
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Quick, be useful!
    I am just hoping that I recover quickly from my carpal tunnel surgery or I might be considered surplus to demand

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