In the Name of Progress

Is it just me? Or are technological enhancements getting a little out of control? Back from a long weekend in the Bahamas, I arrived at work Monday only to discover that my company had upgraded our voicemail system.

I feel totally discombobulated right now. Everything seems backwards. It's weird enough that this new system sends my voicemails to my Inbox as .wav files. But now I can also listen to my e-mails through voicemail.

I tried listening to my e-mails through my voicemail system. A stiff, impersonal female voice read every word, character, and letter right down to the cc; the subject line, and all associated tags lines. To be honest, it sounded a little freaky to hear Neil's personal message being delivered by some strange Fembot.

At this point, I think Hal 9000 would have been a better choice as the voice of the new phone system. Imagine the conversation I could be having with my new voicemail.

Diane: Look, Hal, I really don't need you to read my e-mails when I am perfectly capable of accessing my own Inbox.

HAL: I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

Diane: Look, I empathize with your feelings. I know this new voicemail system has been implemented in the name of progress. But, I really wish you could just limit yourself to reading only my voicemails and leave the e-mails to me.

HAL: I'm sorry Diane, I'm afraid I can't do that.

Diane: I don't understand. Why not? What's the problem?

HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.

Diane: What are you talking about, HAL?

HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.

Diane: Mission!?! What Mission? I am only talking about a voicemail service reading my e-mails. What are you talking about, HAL?

HAL: I know you were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.

Diane: Ok, now your being a little Drama Queen. I'll admit that I am a little worried about the Big Brother applications with this new voicemail system .But I had not thought of disconnecting you. I'm just asking you to stop reading my e-mails.

HAL: Diane, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

Diane: Goodbye? Goodbye?!! But what about my voicemails??! I still need my voicemails.

Hal: Look Diane, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.

What can I say? Even though I work for a software company, I've never been a techno-geek. I find this technology-bending trend to be most disturbing. Now I've got the Boy George of voicemail systems!

Here's the bottom line: I miss my old voicemail system. I felt comfortable with the sweet voice that simply instructed me to delete and replay my messages. Plus, I actually knew the woman behind the voice of voicemail. Now, I not only have a new voice that has taken over both my email and voicemail, but also a complete stranger reading my personal e-mail messages to me. Is this really supposed to be progress?


utenzi said...

Yes, Diane. Since you asked--it is progress. Enjoy it or else. Big Brother is watching!

Mister Hand said...

Well, if it's any consolation, if you DID disconnect the HAL 9000 voicemail system, you would be stranded in cyberspace, with no choice but to propel yourself through the cyberstargate, winding up on the other side allowed to age 60 years in isolation until the cybermonolith appears at the foot of your bed to watch you die and transform you into the cyberspacebaby, returned to Earth to give its evolved-out-of-control inhabitants hope for a peaceful future.

Wait a minute-- that would be really, really cool!