Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Does Apple dream of electric sheep?

From the Supreme Leader of the Martian Confederation - 20 October 2020

"Greetings Earthlings. I hope you are well.

"I arrive with a positive message about your iGods, the sales of which have surpassed all expectations this year. Since you turned production of this wonderful item over to our capable hands, the number of units available on your planet has sky-rocketed. And thanks to our advanced manufacturing methods, each unit is now cheaper to produce than a loaf of Earthling bread - much tastier too! There is scarcely a man, woman or child on your planet now who is without the wonderful iGod. It has transformed your lives, has become so important that life without it would indeed be grim. For sure it is one of the great inventions of the modern age."

"Now you might have heard - from propagandist elements on Earth - that our production techniques have been compromised of late. You might also have heard that due to certain "design-flaws" your devices have been left vulnerable to cyber-attack, to interplanetary cyber-warfare. There are even some miscreants who suggest that we on Mars might have done this "accidentally-on-purpose" to make it easier to access your beloved iGods. They say that it might be convenient to leave your iGods vulnerable in the event of interplanetary war - because we could then gain easy access to your innermost secrets or disable your lifestyle "must-haves" when most you have need of them.

"But nothing could be further from the truth. Why oh why oh why should we detract from your enjoyment of this remarkable gadget? It has been a sure fire winner for our factories as much as it has been for your planet. Our iGod factories currently employ one eighth of the Martian workforce and we would do nothing to endanger this. We, the Martians, want you the Earthlings to continue worshipping the iGod, for it has brought us prosperity too.

"Now that being said, Earthlings, there are clearly good reasons for us to enhance the iGod experience. Let me give you an analogy: In the middle ages your great churches were disposed towards enhancing the "God" experience. Of course the churches did this the better to embrace such an experience. And just as your priests perpetuated devotion through bells and whistles and icons, and just as your priests guided you on how to think and how to pray and how to live your lives and embrace your Lord, so we on Mars feel that the entire iGod experience must be enhanced through the presence of natty apps and cookies, through monitoring devices and "stabilisation and control systems" that allow us to guide (at any given time) your enjoyment of this life-enhancing gadget.

"You see, if we did not guide, direct and manage your use of the iGod, you would soon lose your devotion to it. You would simply view it as something that makes life easier - when in fact it's an opportunity to give control and direction to life, to give it meaning. It would be such a shame if we missed that opportunity, that opportunity to make life on Earth better. In fact it would be a tragedy. And let me tell you - we on Mars have the technical know-how to make it better.

"So rest at ease Earthlings. There is unlikely to be cyber-war. But if there is, we will ensure the "bells and whistles" on these fabulous iGods enhance your "cyber war experience". And this will be thanks to the appropriate and most meaningful technical guidance of our engineers here on Mars. So please, please, please leave yourselves (and your marvellous iGods) in our capable hands. For we, not you, know what we are doing... It is we who have the technology.

"Yes, we who have the technology."

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