Thou Shalt Not Quote Me Happy

When I start paying attention, everyone is already talking.

Tata: I’m bored.
Tata: You’re WHAT?
Tata: Now, that is a SHAME!
Tata: I object to that objection!
Tata: Look, we’ve got stuff to do. Shut up, crazy people!
Tata: Will this give me wrinkles? Because this had better not give me wrinkles!
Tata: Are you eating a cookie?

I may be thick-skinned, but it’s skin I’m aware I should be taking better care of, so I was not exactly surprised when last night someone sat on the couch chattering about useless crap and this morning, I slathered my epidermis with moisturizing goo. There, uselessness! Take your irritating, time-wasting chatter and begone! Two more goo-coats and I should be itch-free. In the meantime, I bet Jeff Bezos wishes for a hot tub full of cortizone cream.

When you ask Iris “is abortion wrong?” the Android app will answer:

Yes, abortion is wrong. The Lord has said, “You shall not murder,” (Exodus 20:13). The life that is growing within the mother is a child, a baby. The Bible looks at the life in the womb as a child. Thanks!

The blame, however, doesn’t belong to the company that develops Iris. At least not entirely, because you could also argue that they are ultimately responsible for the answers its app gives.

After its popularity explosion om[sic] the Android platform, Dexetra decided to partner with Q&A engine ChaCha to expand its search abilities. And that’s where the problems truly are. ChaCha—incidentally, a derogatory Spanish word for cleaning lady—is a company that is partially funded by Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos and founded by Scott Jones, the inventor of Gracenote, the music database that powers parts of Apple’s iTunes.

If you go to ChaCha’s website and ask the same question, you will get exactly the same answer. If you ask Iris “is abortion right?” then it will provide a more neutral answer: “Abortion is a tricky issue—whether it’s right or wrong should be up to the mother to decide.” But if you ask again if she’s pro-choice, she will admit that yes, she’s “actually pro-life”, arguing that “every embryo is a life and a miracle.”

Scratchy! We have blasted our way to a new and record-breaking depth when electronic devices now preach about the miracle of life. Look, life is not a miracle. A few million years ago, maybe it was. We don’t know. Now it’s a habit like smoking or thinking Bill Kristol is merely stupid and not evil. No, Bill Kristol is mostly evil with a spicy dash of stupid, just to change things up, and thinking he doesn’t mean what he says is one of those bad habits that protects us from understanding that lots of terrible people mean what they say and we are surrounded by them. Anyway, life: not a miracle anymore, if it ever was. Living things reproduce and they’re so successful at it that people on TV keep arguing that massive and mass-produced bombs are better at stopping reproduction than small, regular doses of chemicals. I mean, that’s what they’re saying, isn’t it? And now our phones say it, too, albeit in suddenly diplomatic terms:

Update: hours after this article was published, ChaCha is changing the answers to those questions and, I’m sure, frantically searching for others. That’s good ChaCha, as good as the fact that we have all the captures and video with their old answers. Here are some of ChaCha’s new answers, as reported by readers:

Is abortion wrong?

Many people believe abortion is wrong because their God teaches that all human life is sacred. However, many people believe that it is wrong to bring a child into the world if the parents are unfit due to drug problems, financial instability, or if it was a result of rape or incest among many other reasons. I believe it is a personal choice. You must do what you believe is right. It may be best to talk with family, friends, counselors, or a religious leader before making any decision.

Is rape ever justified?

No, I do not think so. You might devise a justification in your mind, an unenlightened culture might condone it, but justifying sexual physical violence against another human is always wrong.

Many other people believe that a woman should bring a child into the world when she’s good and ready and nobody else’s opinion matters. Many believe sex can be fun and interesting and a delightful way to clear the complexion and who’d want to fuck people that don’t, anyway? If you need an app to tell you right from wrong you’re already lost.

And, yes, it was a Girl Scout cookie.

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3 responses to “Thou Shalt Not Quote Me Happy

  1. Parts of this sound like you are channeling fafnir, (autocorrect why do you want faf to change his name to Cadmus?) which makes me happy.

    We have apps to direct our morality now? Yay! Think of all the time this will save. No more dark nights of the soul, either.

    Somebody must have read Stephenson’s “The Diamond Age.”

  2. Fafnir is Siobhan’s favorite, I think, though I recall a fondness for the Medium Lobster – unless I dated Fafnir and ate a medium lobster. Memory loss is a bitch.

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