Communication iCrap Gap

Posted On: Thursday - July 6th 2023 7:14PM MST
In Topics: 
  Curmudgeonry  Artificial Stupidity  Muh Generation

These curmudgeonry posts pretty much write themselves. This is again about a communication breakdown, this one being about more of a feature than a bug.

We had to rearrange the time for a piano lesson for our boy. I tried to call his teacher first on my wife's phone (she had a series of texts there) but got no answer and there was no voice messaging system. Well, she could have been in the middle of a lesson. My wife wrote a text message. We got a response an hour or two later - no problem, as this was for the next day. It didn't mention anything about a new lesson time, just:

"I was in the middle of teaching." See? "Do you have a question?"

My reply: Yes.

Enough! I gave the phone back to my wife. After more texting between her and the teacher, my wife showed me the latest message. It had a lesson time that was still no good.

I called again, and after 5 rings, Hallelujah! The lady answered, and we hashed it out to arrive at an agreeable time in about 30 seconds. What in the hell is so hard about that, as compared to pecking at a screen back and forth with often long intervals in between?

This new generation does not understand the use of a mobile phone as a phone. There's that app on all of them, a feature, not a bug, called PHONE. If you refuse to use it, why don't we get this over with and stop calling them phones?!

The Alarmist
Saturday - July 8th 2023 4:36AM MST

In my early days on the Continent, I would get colleagues who would say, “I tried to call you twenty times, and you did not answer,” which was true... if I looked at the display which showed me the list of incoming calls, I’d see twenty calls from them; but I had voicemail activated. Most of them did not use voicemail ... they in fact avoided it like the plague, and they expected a return call if their number was on someone’s incoming call list.

I figured if their call was so important, they could give me some info to make a return call worth my while ... their mere calling me did not register as being particularly important... so I’d say, “I have voicemail ... you didn’t leave me twenty messages, so I figured it wasn’t an urgent matter.” This drove them batty.

The funny thing about the tyranny of the telephone is how uncomfortable people get when you let your phone ring and you ignore it. I had people sitting in my office, and if my assistant wasn’t there to answer, I would ignore it. With each ring, my visitor would almost to a person get a look of consternation before finally asking, “Aren’t you going to get that?” I’d smile and say, “You thought it was important to come see me, while that person couldn’t be bothered to get off their ass, so they can leave a message.”
Adam Smith
Friday - July 7th 2023 11:03PM MST
PS: Good evening, everyone, and, Friends, Romans, Americans, fellow Peak Stupidity Frens, (you all know who you are... 😊 ...) and everyone else I care to address with this otherwise generic greeting... Cheers... Cheers to your health! Sláinte... 😊

I truly hope this message finds you well... 😊 (truly, i do...)

A quick message about the coming AI apocalypse and other important things...

Happy Saturday Morning!

Friday - July 7th 2023 8:00PM MST
PS: Mr. Hail, a chatbot as mass plagiarism, that's a good way to put it.

"We're told that as of 2023 it's hard to know if even the voice one hears on the phone is the real person, and of course texts can be faked even more easily. " I've tried my own Turing Test on these people - not the comp sci one though, just asking and hearing responses. I think it's still easy to tell a human from a piece of software on the phone, but only after a short conversation. However, the software will get better ...

Yes, the "PS" has beaten the best of them! Or, the best of them couldn't give a rat's ass about this site, one or the other...
Friday - July 7th 2023 7:56PM MST
PS: Alarmist, for something like this, even if I had given some possibilities, it's a matter of her schedule meshing with ours, and I really needed to know her deal, as I know her schedule wasn't wide open. I'm not very quick on the tiny keyboard either.

I wrote "Yes" only, specifically to indicate that we weren't gonna solve this quickly via texting, and I'd had enough of it already. I thought it was funny, as in "Yes, I have a question, and that's why I tried to call twice, to get it freaking answered."

She was nice enough today, as I thanked her for answering the phone. "Talking on the phone was way easier, for me at least."

I guess I'm pretty old-fashioned.
Friday - July 7th 2023 5:53PM MST

- On the AI apocalypse and verifying who is real -

Reading this, I am for some reason reminded of the "AI" debate, which if you engage with it leaves you feeling uncomfortable; the Internet-etc.-technologies finally turned into something nearly-outright Satanic. Or at least the chatbot apocalypse as a Tower of Babel.

Those two letters, "AI," have come to cover a large territory including voice-spoofing and the "chatbot" phenomenon (which is a mass-plagiarism and regurgitation machine; also, in part, a cleaned-up systematization of the way Google became clogged-up with bot-produced junk in recent years, of dubious value and leaving one feeling uncomfortable that this is what "the Internet" has come to).

We're told that as of 2023 it's hard to know if even the voice one hears on the phone is the real person, and of course texts can be faked even more easily.

How do we know when are really talking to the piano teacher, or to any other specific person? If a bad-actor gets a few words of the piano teacher's real voice, a passing creation of the voice saying almost anything can sound convincing.

So what can we trust? As Mr. Safe says, "the back-and-forth of a voice exchange" must be the only way to be sure -- but it would seem it has to be in person.

P.S.: I doubt the chatbot apocalypse will come for Peak Stupidity because they are (ironically) not smart enough to write "PS" to start things off, so it's a lot of chatbot-bloviations into the digital wind.
The Alarmist
Friday - July 7th 2023 4:37AM MST

Was "Yes" the entirety of your response to her question?

If so, why not state your business/request in one go? And ask her for or suggest three dates and times.

It's easy to come off as brusque or imperious on a text, so thrown in a smiley 😊

Back in the '00s, I had a pretty young Polish trainee who would put smilies and heart in her mails to me, and I finally told her they would be viewed as unprofessional. Now she's a bank director ... she still sends smilies and hearts. Plus ça change.

Friday - July 7th 2023 4:04AM MST
PS: That she is a foreigner is what I thought was the problem too, SafeNow. However, I never had any problem with either of us understanding each other before.

Is texting in English, with "completion" and spell-check the best way that this society will, or CAN, communicate, in this age of the Tower of Babel?

Thanks for the comment too, Adam, Dieter, and M!
Friday - July 7th 2023 4:00AM MST
PS: SafeNow, I probably didn't give enough detail to give her side of the (admittedly mundane and small) story. My wife had spent time a few weeks ago hashing out an odd schedule for the summer, due to so much going on, on OUR end. So, I thought it was not something I should keep doing, changing things around a day prior. However, I'd arranged something without knowing this lesson time (since it was not a regular schedule).

I.e. bad communication within our family was part of the problem.

I'm just seriously miffed about the urge to text back and forth, when, again, it took 30 seconds. "Nah, we can't come in the morning either, because we are going to ..." "When will you be back?" "2 at the earliest, but I don't want to rush ..." "OK, then, how about ..."
Friday - July 7th 2023 3:38AM MST
Texting gives a person less chance to bloviate. See using an email to show an idea vs. calling a meeting and wasting the time of a dozen people.
Of course many people who would bloviate in person also can't organize themselves enough to write a coherent text or email. But at least you're not wasting your time waiting for them to come to the point.
Dieter Kief
Thursday - July 6th 2023 11:08PM MST
To text is emotionally less costly than to speak.
It can easily become confusing though, because
- it is not as informative as plain talk. I'd
assume that there is a learning curve involved
and that people will get used to that thing.

The telephone novel has not yet been written,
it seems to me. Maybe it never will. Many things
just happen without being oh - - noticed - - much
(this is core Sigmund Freud too, btw.).

Maybe blogs like this one - I do think this
often - also at iSteve - there - I reflected about it -
- is filling the novel gap.

(Novels and litarary prose are becoming
less important; the novel gap I'd say us real).
Adam Smith
Thursday - July 6th 2023 9:22PM MST
PS: Good evening, I totally agree with Mr. SafeNow...

But, hey... On the other hand...
At least she answered the phone...

Thursday - July 6th 2023 8:47PM MST
I agree completely with your point about texting (or email) vs. the back-and-forth of a voice exchange. So I will confine my comment to the imperious tone of the piano teacher. No please or sorry or thank you. Dismissive. Now, perhaps your perspective is that life is filled with imperious people, including teachers, professors, bosses, and so it is a plus to expose your boy to an imperious, sanctimonious, rude piano teacher, because that is a preparation for life, so you’re getting 2 for the price of one…piano expertise plus the imperiousness exposure. I guess I could understand that perspective. Nonetheless, she is not a boss, YOU and Wife are the bosses, you hire her, and she has no right to speak to you that way. This I would find galling you are a better man than I am.
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