Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rage-dar

Smart phones should have a new feature — one that gauges the level of visceral rage of the person on the other end.

Picture the commercial: A newspaper editor gets a phone call from a business owner who says someone called him and wanted to do a story on his business. She gets his information and tells him she will pass it on to the appropriate reporter, who may call. In the course of the conversation, she determines someone from advertising actually called him. She suggests he call advertising and reiterates that she will pass on the information.

He keeps talking. She actually interrupts to say, for the third time, that she will give his information to a reporter. He. Keeps. Talking.

Now, without rage-dar on his phone, the scenario ends like this: With steam coming out of her ears, the editor tells the guy that she's explained to him exactly what she's willing to do for him, which is the same as she'd be willing to do for anyone else, and she is right in the middle of actual important news and if he does not &*$%#*&*#$% get off the phone right now his ears were going to be bleeding.

With rage-dar, however, his phone would start emitting a warning beep as it detected the editor, already at a high level of frustration because of everything happening that day and his continued inane commenting were causing her to think curse words, and as the beep reached a critical level he would shut up. Or his phone would "drop the call."

Now, I know what you're going to say: Why do you need rage-dar when the person making the phone call could simply pick up on conversational cues such as "no" or "I'm busy." However, I think we all know that as phones become smarter, the people using them become dumber.

Another possibility is a phone that only sends emails. You cannot call out unless it is 911. It seems crazy, but you still get to carry around your phone and use it to show off your status in life, but it will not allow you to bug people with a phone call, demanding that they drop everything and talk to you, when you can just send them an email that is actually more effective for everyone.

Yeah, yeah, OK. This is my final plea, and one that is technologically within my grasp — a voicemail message that says, "If you do not tell me why you are calling, I am not calling you back."


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