Sunday 28 April 2013


On 23 April, hackers using Twitter caused a sharp drop in the stock market. When the hoax became apparent, the duped computers self-corrected. The market recovered within minutes.

I never liked the idea of my Pension Plan being managed by traders who ARE automatons rather than accountants who merely LOOK like automatons. But now I see that the market isn’t controlled by computers after all.  The buying and selling decisions are made by Twitter.

Does that mean Twitter is poised to take over other decision-making processes and will soon interfere with my every-day choices? Yes, according to Andrew Somosi of SocialGuide! Twitter aspires to have an authentic one-to-one relationship with me, the consumer (Globe & Mail, 26 April).  AUTHENTIC. ONE-TO-ONE. TILL DEATH DO US PART?

I can see the following scenario unfolding in my house at dinner time.
Me. What are we going to eat tonight?
Twitter. Spinach & broccoli omelette.
My spirits sink, because I know the kids will throw a tantrum, but I accept the Twitter verdict. Halfway through cracking the eggs, however, there is an adjustment. The spinach & broccoli thing was a hoax perpetrated by fundamentalist vegetarians.
Twitter. Correction! Make that pizza topped with salami and bacon bits.
My spirits recover instantly – pizza is an easy sell. From depression to euphoria: 6 minutes. The eggs are cracked, mind you.

But what about decisions of national importance, like war or peace?
Twitter. War! The Enemy has WMDs.
Drones take off from an aircraft carrier and start dropping bombs, but wait. There are no WMDs after all. That was false information provided by The Dick Cheney Brigade.
Twitter. Hold the bombs!
War to peace: 8 minutes. But unless they develop bombs on Bungee cords and can yank them back, the collateral damage is done.

So, when Twitter takes over the worldwide decision-making process, we’d better introduce a mandatory delay of, say, 10 minutes before we act.
Which may prove awkward, however.  Let’s say you’re in a restaurant and choking on a fish bone.
Twitter. Heimlich Manoeuver!
Several patrons and your server (Hi, my name is Andy) rush to your table, willing to help, but their hands are tied: 10 minutes mandatory waiting time, while Twitter ponders whether you’re faking it to avoid leaving a tip for Andy.

Or there’s a grease fire in your kitchen.
Twitter. Douse the fire!
You have a handy fire extinguisher on the wall, but there’s that mandatory waiting period, in case Twitter has second thoughts. The fire could be a mirage, right?

Sadly, you may choke to death and your kitchen may be reduced to ashes by the time the Twitter tide has stabilized. But there is an up-side to all of this.

If we leave it all to Twitter, we can blame it all on Twitter and live a life of guilt-free stupor till death do us part.

Romantic, no?

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