The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

I’m Not Aggressive. You Stupid Bastard.
September 21, 2015, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment, Communication Strategy, Perspective, Technology

I love technology.

Love it.

I grew up with it.

I’ve worked in it.

I own lots of it.

Technology has enhanced lives, changed lives and developed lives.

It’s amazing.

But there’s a point where I fear it crosses the line between being your servant and being your master.

If you ask Jill, she would say I have been a slave to my iPhone for years, but we’re not asking Jill are we.

The reason for this post is that I read that IBM’s super-computer, Watson, has developed a ‘tone analyser’ for emails and letters.

Now I get how important clarity of communication is.

I also get that tone can sometimes get clouded in written form … meaning people can have their words misinterpreted.

I also get that we can all improve our skills in someway.

But when a computer dictates ‘what is and what isn’t appropriate’, I start to get nervous.

Who set the rules it will enforce?

Why does business view personality as dangerous?

How come IBM have decided everyone should talk to everyone in the same tone … regardless of relationship status.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the technological advancement that this demonstrates … I even see the potential value it has for faceless corporations who are obsessed with being as bland and beige as possible, but while the written word can sometimes be more misunderstood than the spoken word, we are hardly spending our days going around apologising to people because for some reason, we wrote “FUCK OFF AND DIE” when we actually meant, “I HOPE YOU ARE WELL”.

Though of course all my sceptisicm and cynicism could be due to the fact that when I tested it out, my ‘letter’ was so full of passive aggressiveness that I almost broke the internet. Which means to me, the tone of my letter was just right.

You can test how much of illiterate and un-empathetic bastard you are here.

18 Comments so far
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I hope you are well.

Comment by John

More transparent than a greenhouse John.

Comment by Rob

You have probably already communicated with a computer than you thought was a human. Not in a skynet/terminator way, but in a customer service way. I agree with you though, apart from some standard responses, the best written business communication is individual, personal and full of the authors personality.

Comment by Pete

Campbell sounds like a robot so it all evens out in the end.

Comment by DH

Funny you should say that, I was speaking at a conference a week ago about artificial intelligence and I was asked if I’d ever spoken to a computer that was trying to make me believe it was a human.

I responded with, “I’ve worked at WPP so of course I have”. Not many people found it funny.

Comment by Rob

You said more than just that.

Comment by Pete

I hadn’t seen that. I’m not even sure I said that. Well, I know I mentioned Mum and the Siri thing but the other stuff seems totally new to me.

Comment by Rob

like fuck youre against it. all you have to do is train a computer to say some planning shit and you wont even have to go into work to do the little bit of fucking work you pretend to do in the first place.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m impressed you think a computer has to do it. I’d of thought you’d suggest Otis could get away with it. He could … but then he’s very advanced for his age. Ha.

Comment by Rob

ibm are skynet. or they used to be before they tried to be warm and cuddly and basically fuck up everything that was good about them. twats.

Comment by andy@cynic

From inter-ballistic missiles to insipid, bland machines.

Comment by DH

So says the man with so many robot animals he could start a farm.

Comment by DH

But I still control them, all I have to do is remove their power station from the wall. In other words, I am their God.

Comment by Rob

even robot fucking dogs would piss on you campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

“I’d like some passive aggressiveness please. Hold the passive.”
– Rob Campbell

Comment by Bazza


Comment by DH

It’s amusing because it’s true.

Comment by Pete

Not you as well.

Comment by Rob

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