Fickle AI and the Harbinger of Doom.

It has taken a lot of persausion to push my husband into the 21st century. To be fair, he did have a mobile in the 90’s – when everyone’s ringtone was the same. Remember that? A phone would ring when you were out with friends and everyone within a 100meters would freeze and wonder if it was for them. Well, somewhere just over the hump of the last decade, my husband got to the point where he decided enough was enough. He’d had big phones, he had small phones and now he’d found one that was a perfect fit. He could hear his individual ring tone and he could see the numbers he was to dial. And of course he imagined that would be his phone until the day he died. Of course the tech giants who’d made his phone were not happy about that and before he knew it he was being forced into accepting an android that confused the hell out of him. He spent several months working that out and life settled down until just recently when his phone has begun to do things that would suggest to most sane people, that it’s dying. ‘It’s hellish hot. Does your phone get hot?’ Ahh, no. Sometimes his phone just doesn’t do things for no reason at all, and sometimes it does really weird things; all of which I keep telling him, means he needs a new phone. And a new iPad. ‘What do you mean I need a new iPad. This one is perfectly good.’ He only thinks that because he’s had it for 8 years and only really understood it for 3. Before that it was a lot of gentle, soothing talk and patient instructions from his partner who wondered more than once, if there was ever going to be a breakthrough. Thankfully there was, but of course, now the iPad is past it’s useby date and the number of things he can do on it seems to be diminishing as the apps go unsupported. He thought he could handle a new iPad – until he saw how much they cost. He is now guarding both the phone and the iPad and making damned sure I don’t go near Noel Leemings. And the negative vibes he’s offering to the TechnoGods have to be seen to be believed. We created RealMe identities a few years ago and since my husband still gets emails, he and I both received the ‘Your details need verifying” reminder at the beginning of this week. I read it, went to the website, logged in, answered the questions, found a good place in the hall to get my photograph taken, did the facial movements for the video and job done. His has been an ongoing saga for three days. First there was a password issue – which we solved. Then it was accessing the site – which we solved. Then it was having his photograph taken. Which took three goes. Glasses on- glasses off -all solved by moving closer to the screen. And just when you thought someone couldn’t possibly stuff up blinking, nodding and turning his head… the computer said no. He tried again. And again. But now it says he’s not who he says he is which is a load of old tot because one look at the way he’s verball abusing the TechnoGods, would instantly prove that it is. Thankfully there was a help line and thankfully someone here in New Zealand answered it within 2 minutes. What was not such a joy was that he wasn’t of any help whatsoever. I heard my husband say, ‘So you’re not helping me much are you?’ and to his credit, the polite young man, agreed and we all had a jolly good laugh. We have agreed to try it again tomorrow because we know it’s just a computer that may or may not remember what it did yesterday and if it does have a modicum of recall then he’s off to the Automobile Assoc testing station where I guess he gets to stand beside a learner drive, nod and blink and shake his head and get someone who doesn’t know him from Adam to say that’s he a real human. All this to renew an online passport that doesn’t expire until 2026. It really makes you wonder if it’s worth it.

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