Robots, babies, and proof

What is real?  What has value? What is pre-wired? What is learned? What is hacked? Where are the authorities? Who decides what's authentic? What requires bifocals? ... Hearning aids?

When we pull the cloth out from under the silver and china why is there no table?

I'm on a non-fiction reading kick.  This week I'm tackling Modris Eksteins's Solar Dance, and finding much for rumination. Could be, though, the grass is AstroTurf.  Or the grass could be half-empty. Or the cow might have a stomach porthole:

 In Modris Eksteins’s hands, the interlocking stories of Vincent van Gogh and art dealer Otto Wacker reveal the origins of the fundamental uncertainty that is the hallmark of the modern era.

Wacker's forged Van Goghs did much to popularize the artist's work, and to drive the prices skyward--the faux promoting the genuine. We live in a world of designer knock-offs and bootlegs, where the genuine promote the faux. As happened at Wacker's trial and appeal, the testimony of "experts" got so convoluted it seemed the faux genuine was promoting the genuine faux.  Say, is that a real fake Rolex?

 Behind our daily life skitters a  backdrop of doubt.  We need to check for security updates and run scans.  Our suspicious outlook could be our only salvation.

This morning I listened to an NPR segment about people teaching a robotic baby to talk.  This evening I'm unable to convince the same online story that I am not a robot myself.  I flunked two visual robot tests, then attempted my first ever audio robot challenge. Ouch.  I did much worse sorting and typing the audio robot quiz words amidst the babble. I'm pretty sure I got "fried egg", "Sunday", "rectangle", and "scissors", but that was inadequate.

Coworkers and friends send me email links in the middle of the night. Don't they have to be at work at 8:30?  Why are they up so late? Didn't I just see them yesterday? How could they have already lost their passports and need me to wire them money? Their addresses are not their own.

And you, too. You aren't real. Symantec said so, so it must be so. You must be very popular! Norton will not let me into any of your blogs. Maybe it's a fake Norton protecting me from the real McCoy.

blocked red-x
Fraudulent Web Page Blocked

You attempted to access:

This web page is a known fraudulent web page. It is recommended that you do NOT visit this page.

For your protection, this web page has been blocked. Visit Symantec to learn more about phishing and internet security. 

Well, it is Sunday morning now. The world is washed clean. Your web pages are no longer fraudulent. The experts have spoken.  And they said, "Danger, Will Robinson!"

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Kathleen said...

Uh oh. I was pretty sure I was real.

Kathleen said...

Glad to know I'm no longer fraudulent. Your messages always come through with a pink warning, too. Our Smart Something-or-Other Filters think this message looks suspicious. I always have to click that you are safe.

You're safe, right?

Kim said...

Boy my computer is naive and gullible when it comes to you too. Must be because my photo has a machete and don't need to worry about poems or collages.

Kim said...

You two. Argh!
And doesn't, not don't. Oh my sad grammar on a Monday afternoon.

Collagemama said...

This was the first time Norton/Symantec freaked out about all my blog reading. I'm betting it's because my subscription is about up for renewal, and the "experts" want me sufficiently scared to pay up!

Also, this whole situation reminds me of the time my ex tried to explain the concept of "safe sex" to our early adolescence sons. "Safe sex is like scanning your floppy discs before you open them."

Kathleen said...

Floppy discs, eh? Oh, dear. My computer will probably never let me come here again!


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