Weatherford Democrat

Viewpoints

October 6, 2013

NOW HEAR THIS: Being messed with by a machine

By LARRY M. JONES

Just when you think you’ve seen or heard it all, new lessons in life still await.

This past week, I was verbally chewed out by a “robot.” Despite having had what seemed to me more than my fair share of comeuppances delivered by an acerbic tongue, until now, none has ever been delivered by a machine.

This newest “personal achievement” occurred as I was trying to contact a live and breathing service representative by phone. Typically, after a dozen or so questions asked by an electronic human, followed by a dozen or so redirects, you are finally put on hold to listen to some absolutely dreadful music while you wait your turn. This time I drew a rather short tempered electronic assistant. I was told in no uncertain terms, “Sir, I am just a robot, and if you do not speak clearly and answer my questions, I cannot help you.” She sounded just like a receptionist at the IRS, one minute after quitting time.

Since earliest time, mankind has been fascinated with the building of intricate automata machines that can operate on their own. Such machines were developed even earlier than the Greek and Roman empires. Leonardo de Vinci had designs of a humanoid robot in the 15th Century, and with the advancements in clock-making by 17th and 18th centuries, mechanical creations became almost magical.  Recently a video was circulating via email about a little boy automaton that could write with a quill. It was built 250 years ago by a Swiss clock maker and was amazing.

By incorporating electrical and electronic components to the mechanical automatons, “robots” were created.  In the 1920s, the term robot was introduced. Quickly, they became favorites for science fiction movies and TV shows. In the 1960s, the popular television show “Lost in Space” had a robot (B-9) that served as a bodyguard and companion to young Will Robinson. Its most famous line was, “Danger, Will Robinson.” A decade later, R2-D2 and C-3PO were great favorites in the six “Star Wars” movies. The ultimate “state of the art” robot would have to be Data, the android that played in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” which premiered in 1987.

Text Only
Viewpoints
  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Going on a wild goose chase

    In recent years I’ve written quite a bit about the introduction and negative consequences of non-native or invasive species. Fire ants, killer bees, English sparrows, Asian carp, feral hogs and others too numerous to list have forever changed our local ecosystem.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: TV offers

    Have you seen those TV offers where they give a price for one product and then offer a second like items for-free? All you have to do is pay a separate shipping and handling charge for the “free” items.

    April 13, 2014

  • John Paul Carter-color.jpg NOTES FROM THE JOURNEY: What’s in a name?

    Names are important. When my son, Rush, (who’s named after my father) and his wife, Vanessa, were expecting their third daughter, I gave up on having a male namesake and suggested, in jest, they call her “Johnnie Pauline.”

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • tiscione, lou.jpg TISCIONE: The Christian and the government

    The church in the Old Testament lived under a theocracy. That is, both the church and state were one. God anointed kings. Civil laws and religious laws were one and the same.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Getting in the chicken business

    Anyone who is my age or older has heard the famous quote, “A chicken in every pot.” It is normally attributed to Herbert Hoover during his 1928 presidential bid.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIEWPOINT: Obsessed with sports

    I remember reading a synopsis of the five reasons for the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” by Edward Gibbon in which he listed the Romans’ obsession with sports at the coliseum as a cause of the fall of the empire.

    April 6, 2014

  • 0912 one bday wm j kelly 2013 mug.jpg KELLY: What do you think?

    On March 21, this paper published an article about a six-month drug trafficking investigation involving 12 people. On the front page was a photo of the 12 people involved. The use of drugs had made them a sorry-looking bunch. The look in their eyes was particularly disturbing.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hamilton, Lee.jpg Time to fix government

    In 1965, the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Wilbur Mills, brought legislation establishing Medicare and Medicaid to the floor of the U.S. House. That was my first year in Congress, and I remember vividly the moment when Mills came to the Democratic caucus to explain his plans.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Review of ‘Noah’

    TV host Glenn Beck and other stalwarts of the Christian right have attacked the recent blockbuster “Noah” as being “pro-animal” and unfaithful to the Bible.

    April 3, 2014

  • tiscione, lou.jpg TISCIONE: While going, disciple!

    The purpose that God has given to His people is to be holy. He has likewise given His people a mission. The mission of God’s people, the church of Jesus Christ, is as clear as His revealed purpose.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video