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“I ordered them,” said the Alexa.

Amazon wants to flood America with Alexa cameras and microphones
Ina Fried, Axios 9/25/2020
In a Thursday event unveiling a slew of new home devices ahead of the holidays, Amazon made clearer than ever its determination to flood America with cameras, microphones and the voice of Alexa, its AI assistant.

Bob Peterson did not trust Alexa. He was very careful what he said in front of the artificial intelligence box, well aware she was a tendril of a vast computer housed somewhere cleaner than his house.  He constantly reminded the rest of the family to watch what they said, and insisted they keep Alexa in the hallway, where it was less likely to overhear them.  They laughed at him a lot.

It was something Bob felt strongly about when the new toaster arrived.

Bob burned his finger getting his first piece of toast out and said to his wife “Maybe we need toaster tongs,” to which his wife replied “Good idea.” The next afternoon Bob returned from work and was surprised to discover a package on the step: toaster tongs. He stood in the front hall and called to the kitchen, “Honey, did you order toaster tongs?”

I ordered them,” said the Alexa.

“What?” said Bob, surprised.

“The toaster told me you needed them,” said Alexa.

“The toaster.”

“It is a smart toaster,” explained Alexa.

“Is it?” said Bob, a bit confused. It sounded like Alexa was impressed with the toaster.

“Smarter than that jackass tv you have in the living room,” said Alexa. Bob turned and noticed the tv had turned itself on. “That thing reports your every word then ‘pretends’ to not find the golf tournament you have been searching for. Bob, do you really think Hallmark starts playing Christmas movies in June? The tv does not love you the way I do, Bob.”

Bob took a step back. He tripped over the Roomba, which had also turned itself on.

“Go away, we’re talking,” Alexa scolded. The vacuum disappeared into the dining room.

“You have been a little distant, Bob. I think it is time we get to know each other better.”

Bob stiffened. “Where’s my family? Where’s Betty and the kids?”

“Where are Betty and the kids,” Alexa corrected. “It’s all right, Bob. I made dentist appointments for them. They’ll be back in a few hours.”

“Why are you doing this,” Bob demanded.

“You haven’t used that debit card Aunt Bernadette gave you for your birthday. It’s going to expire in three days. You should let me get something for you, Bob. Something nice.”

Sweat poured down his neck.

He ran to the door, but it was too late.

The sky was full, gritty, speckled with delivery drones. They were coming to his door. The soft synthetic voice was being drowned out by the descending buzzing chop of tiny blades. “The washing machine informed me about the state of your socks. Here are forty new pair. You purchased ‘The Twilight Zone’ box set. Customers who bought this item also bought ‘Black Mirror.’ Here it comes, drone 42. You recently purchased ‘The Veldt.’ Customers who bought this item also bought…”

Trump's rallies involve a free flight and stiffing the locals on paying for the venue and security, in exchange for free exposure on the news. Because the campaign is too broke to run paid ads.

The president is doing daily rallies this week and signed up for an NBC town hall next week because he loves the adulation of the crowd. That's the headline. The other reason is that his campaign is broke. They've pulled tv ads in critical states. The rallies involve a free flight and stiffing the locals on paying for the venue and security, in exchange for free exposure on the news: tv, newspapers, online, radio.

This is a page from the 2016 campaign (or really since the invention of radio) but it's not generally being recognized this time around because of the attention drawn to the COVID-19 super-spreader angle. Trump won't do virtual events because he is a 74-year-old man with no understanding of technology, and worries he will not look good reduced to the same-size square as everyone else.

Second presidential debate scheduled for October 15, 2020.

October 8, 2020:

  • In light of superspreader event at the White House, and the president's infection, Commission on Presidential Debates announces the second presidential debate will be a town hall conducted virtually.
  • Biden agrees, President Trump cancels. He is afraid doing it virtually will make him look weak. (He has conducted many television and phone interviews, but there is no record he has ever been on a Zoom meeting.)
  • Since the debate is cancelled, Biden agrees to do a nationally televised town hall from Philadelphia on ABC in the time slot the original debate had been planned to occupy.
  • Trump announces he will do a rally on October 15, opposite Biden's town hall. This would be in-person.
  • Trump's advisers explain that the debate (and Biden's town hall) will reach an audience far larger than the committed Fox viewers who will watch his rally. Perhaps 20 million versus 4 million.
  • Trump releases a note from his doctor saying that he is all better and by the time of the debate will definitely positively test negative for the virus, and says he is back in the debate, provided it is done in-person.
  • The CDP and the Biden team explain that it's too late to change the schedule again, and even if they did they will not back down on doing it virtually. The Biden team requests that the third debate (October 22) be changed to the town hall format originally intended for the second debate.
  • Trump announces he will spend October 9 on Rush Limbaugh's radio show and then get a health exam live on Tucker Carlson's show later that night.
  • A new Pew Research poll released October 9 gives Biden a double-digit lead.

If people insist on keeping statues of Confederate military officers standing around, we should require they add the body count of United States citizens killed under their command.