Bluff The Listener
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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Rashawn Scott, Amy Dickinson and Adam Burke. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill. Right now...
SAGAL: ...It's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAITWAIT to play our game on the air. Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
MEGAN BUNNELL: Hi, Peter. This is Megan calling from Hanover, N.H.
SAGAL: Oh, Hanover - home of Dartmouth, right?
SAGAL: All right. We have one Dartmouth graduate, I think.
SAGAL: Are you connected with the university there?
BUNNELL: I am. I'm a medical student.
SAGAL: Oh, I see. What kind of doctor do you want to be?
BUNNELL: Probably an OB-GYN.
SAGAL: Well, that's good. Is there anything that you know you don't want to do?
BUNNELL: Probably not pediatrics.
SAGAL: So you want to be an OB-GYN but not a pediatrician - because, like, the baby is born. You're, like, get this thing away from me.
ADAM BURKE: Not interested.
SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show, Megan. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what's Megan's topic?
KURTIS: The future is later.
SAGAL: The problem with the future is it takes so long for it to get here. This week, we heard the story of somebody who couldn't wait and paid the price for being ahead of their time. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth, and you'll win our prize - the voice of your choice on your voicemail. Are you ready to play?
BUNNELL: I am.
SAGAL: All right. Let's hear first from Amy Dickinson.
AMY DICKINSON: Each of us probably has our own view of what life will be like in the future. Now we humans can adopt technology to take the first baby steps toward using our own bodies in ways we used to only dream about. The latest story in cyborg news concerns a guy in Australia. Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow is his name.
DICKINSON: Don't focus on his name. He has a vision. Meow-Meow's vision was to make himself into a human subway token. This kind of thinking might be why Australia doesn't have a space program.
DICKINSON: So he cut out the little chip from the MetroCard and embedded it under his skin. Then Meow-Meow could just wave his hand over the entrance gate and get in. But the transit police asked to see his ticket, and Meow-Meow explained that he could do that if they insisted, but there'd be a lot of blood. So even though he still had money left on his hand chip, he ended up in court charged with not having a ticket, as well as MetroCard mutilation, which is a thing.
DICKINSON: He ended up paying the fine and a thousand dollars in court costs.
SAGAL: The guy who tried...
SAGAL: ...To put his transit card inside his body so he could just wave his hand and walk through, and it did not work out for him. Your next story of a futuristic problem comes from Rashawn Scott.
RASHAWN SCOTT: Atlanta computer programmer Alexa Harris (ph) - no relation to Amazon's Alexa - was so excited when she had her first daughter, Siri (ph).
SCOTT: She wanted to watch her every minute, which was why she hacked her quadcopter drone into the ultimate baby monitor. Other moms would talk about how they couldn't see their baby's face at night because of a bad camera angle. With my drone, I just fly over there and look right at her. Plus, thanks to the nipple attachment I made, with a touch of a button, I can squirt milk right into her mouth from above.
SCOTT: Putting aside the ethics of drone-bombing your baby with breast milk, things were pretty good. She even attached a little speaker so the drone could play lullabies for little Siri while it hovered above. Siri's first words were (imitating drone).
SCOTT: But it all came crashing down this week when Alexa and Siri were being profiled by the local CBS affiliate WKSY. Alexa was demonstrating the new diaper-changing protocol she'd programmed into her drone. The drone's facial recognition tech got confused by the TV lights, and let's just say we all found out the hard way that WKSY reporter Tiffany Thompson (ph) was not in need of a change.
SAGAL: The first...
SAGAL: ...Drone mechanical nanny goes awry. Your last story of someone living in the age of tomorrow comes from Adam Burke.
BURKE: One staple feature of science fiction stories is a robot companion - an AI acquaintance to accompany you during those long space trips to Alpha Centauri. And it was that dream that Yoshiki Yamanaka (ph), a senior researcher at Osaka's Institute of Applied Cybernetics, sought to make a reality when he began building a binary buddy for himself. Rather than programming it to conduct generic conversation or express affection, Yamanaka decided to create a neural network that would get to know and respond to his own unique personality. Unfortunately, it seems he succeeded a little too well. No sooner had he completed his robot pal than it started to look elsewhere for companionship.
BURKE: My first mistake was giving the thing wheels, Yamanaka explained in an email to a colleague, Shi Mike (ph). One day, I was complaining about all the nonsense I have to put up with at the university. When I turned around, the robot had gone and was rolling down the corridor. Mike witnessed the robot's despair personally. One time, Yamanaka brought me over to his lab and was showing off the robot. As soon as Yoshiki left the room, it started begging me to take it with me.
BURKE: I can't blame it. Yamanaka is a brilliant programmer, but he's a bit of a tool.
BURKE: Rumor around the department has it that Yamanaka has given up on trying to create a bespoke besty and is looking into just adopting a dog instead.
SAGAL: So here are your stories. One of these things was attempted - not to great effect. From Amy Dickinson, a guy who put his transit card in his arm so he wouldn't have to wave a card and got arrested for not having a fare. From Rashawn Scott, a baby monitor in a drone that turned out to be too good at its job for its own good. Or from Adam Burke, a Japanese scientist who tried to program a computer to be his best friend, but it got to know him a little bit too well. Which of these is the real story of someone trying to progress too quickly into the world of tomorrow?
BUNNELL: Well, as useful as they all sound, I think I'm going to go with Amy's - the first one.
SAGAL: You're going to go with Amy's - the first one. The guy...
SAGAL: ...Who put the transit...
SAGAL: ...Card inside his hand. All right. Well, we actually were able to speak to the person behind this premature leap forward.
MEOW-LUDO DISCO GAMMA MEOW-MEOW: I had a transport card inserted in my hand, and Transport for New South Wales fined me because of the modification of the card.
SAGAL: That was Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow...
SAGAL: ...Telling us all about the transit card he had implanted in his arm. Congratulations, Megan. You got it right.
DICKINSON: Yeah, Megan.
SAGAL: You earned a point for Amy, and you've won our prize - the voice of anyone you like on your voice mail. Congratulations.
BUNNELL: Thank you.
SAGAL: Thanks for playing with us.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TICKET TO RIDE")
CARPENTERS: (Singing) Oh, he's got a ticket to ride. He's got a ticket to ride.
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