I was going to post about something else today, but there is a news item floating around the internet and I want to give it my paw of disdain. Sony Computer Science Laboratories has come up with a device that posts on Twitter for your cat during her daily activities. The human latches the thing to the cat’s collar and it collects data on what she is doing and Tweets accordingly. As a cat (and as one who already has a “device”-free Twitter account), I can assure you that this whole concept is a lotta baloney (and I don’t mean the tasty lunchmeat). Let me name the reasons why:
- This device spits out just 11 phrases. According to my own Twitter account, over the past two years, I have Tweeted nearly 4,700 unique phrases. Okay, some of them are re-Tweets, but I’m sure that still leaves at least 3,500 original Tweets.
- These phrases are human written. No cat I know wants a human speaking for her. The day that Sony — or some other company with more time than sense on its hands — comes up with a device that correctly discerns what we are thinking and then translates it into a human language such as English, Japanese or whatever, then they may be onto something.
- Wait a minute — we already have translators to get our Tweets on the internet! They’re called “servants,” “employees,” “administrative assistants” or even less succinctly, the human we live with who gives us food and buys us cat trees. If inventors are trying to replace some of these duties, why not replace all of them? Then we won’t need humans at all. We can just have a little box around our necks that gives us food and spends extravagant amounts of money on us for our amusement.
Seriously, I don’t know what these developers are thinking. If they had looked at Twitter any time in the past, oh, three years or so, they might have noticed that there are already cats on there. Thousands of cats. Many of them, like me, also have thousands of followers (but apparently none from Sony Computer Science Laboratories). In fact, one of the most popular accounts on Twitter, period, is Sockington, a Boston-based former stray with over a million and a half followers. None of these cats needed something strung around their necks to Tweet, and most of them have come up with 140-character bursts of inspiration that would put anything pre-programmed to shame. So guys, uh, please put your dumb idea in the litter box where it belongs and get working on a really useful idea… like a device that calls birds to your cat’s favorite window — or even better yet, opens the window once the birds have appeared.