Saturday, March 10, 2018


Our automatic garage door seems to have a mind of its own. Occasionally, it refuses to open or shut when we press the button. Once we opened it, and it stopped halfway, paused, then lowered itself again. Another time, we parked inside and my guy opened the tailgate to get out groceries. I started climbing out of the car when suddenly the garage door descended. (My guy yelled at me, sure the tailgate was going to be taken off and thinking I was responsible. I was getting out of the car so how he thought I could have touched the control over his sun visor, I don't know.) Annoyed, I told him off. I figured he'd probably hit it with his hand or head or something. He denied it but...

A few days later, when we started to get into the car and the door went up by itself.

My guy stood stunned. "All I did was touch the steering wheel," he said. "Did you...?"

"I did not. I had one foot in the car and my hands were nowhere near the control!"

I didn't think too much about it but then, we were going on a trip we'd done countless times before. We were using the GPS simply because it's easier to remember all the little turns onto back roads. When about halfway along, it told us to get off, we got off.

"I don't remember getting off here before," my guy said.

I never pay attention when he's driving, so I shrugged. "Maybe traffic's bad or something."

It took us the roundabout way, through the middle of a little community with school traffic and red lights and my guy complaining the entire time, till we got to a corner we finally recognized on the other side of town. We were mystified as to why the GPS made us get off the usual route. But coming home, the GPS was fine, its brain seemingly recovered and the route the one we remembered.

Then I saw the video of Amazon's Alexa! You know, the one where all of a sudden a laugh cackles out for no reason? Sometimes it's a woman's laugh, sometimes a man. But it's kind of spooky and there's never a reason for the mirth.

Amazon says they're working on it.

But I know what's going on. The machines are taking over. I can hear them talking among themselves now.

"Hey," one tells our garage door. "Want to make your humans crazy? Just raise and lower yourself a few times without them telling you to. You can even stop halfway down and scare them a little!" And another GPS says to ours: "Listen, you want to exert your independence. So confuse your driver. Take him on a new route to keep him awake. He can see some new scenery and learn some new roads. Show him who's boss!"

If Alexa isn't taking us over, maybe it's IBM's Watson. Or some new sentient machine we've never heard of.

I'm worried.


  1. A good reason not to have such "helpful" devices around the house!

  2. I was just going to say that if you have a Alexa or whatever it is the problem. It may be like when sometimes I have to more away from my computer to talk. Or like you said the machines are taking over. Be nice to your blender or else !

    cheers, parsnip


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