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Another Modest Proposal in the War on Computer Generated Anxiety

By       Message James OShanahan       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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Today, everywhere you go,  nothing but anxiety .  Gear grinding, fan whirring, mind numbing anxiety, and coming from where you ask?  From your computer !  Yes, the selfsame sacred cow of which I speak, the dammed computer !  These modern times are not like those happy days of yore, years ago, back in the warm leisurely evenings of instant messaging ,  and emailing a thumbnail pix of your new puppy ,  or even setting up a sled riding date on Match-Are-Us.   All ----- gone .  So, in the interest of a little more peace, tranquility, and a much needed reduction in FEAR , and especially with x-mas coming on, I am offering yet another modest proposal in that long line and often funny Swiftarian tradition of composing highly ironic, bordering even on the bogus, dry councils of perfection.  So, given my forthright self emoluments, let me say the following:

It may not have been apparent to you from my writing thus far, but I use to be an employed computer programmer.  So, I have decided to do just what you would expect a person in my position would do, I have decided to write a computer program to reduce anxiety!  What do you think of that?!   So here goes!

First off, people are anxious because they are reading news that makes them anxious.  That is easily remedied.  People's computers can easily be programmed to filter out anxiety laden news reports.  (In the old days many newspapers performed this necessary function, but with the advent of internet based computing people have been unwittingly subjected to a barrage of stories containing discombobulating and anxiety producing ideas inconsistent with their publicly funded educations.  This is definitely NOT your tax dollars at work , if you know what I mean.)

Now the program I am proposing does require a level of artificial intelligence not common in the content filtering of which we are all presently familiar.  This program must not merely delete selected untoward news stories and opinion pieces, it must instead, leave the news report visible on the website so that the computer user does not feel left out of the social milieu: Conversations at work, around the water cooler , cannot be compromised by interfering content filtering software!  The software must simply remove the anxiety laden provocative ideas embedded in the text, but at the same time (and this is where the artificial intelligence of the thing enters in) it should NOT filter out, for example, sexually titillating tidbits, or potty humor!  But I believe this is within our present technological skill set.

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But news filtering does not address the most critical aspect of computer anxiety production.  The most anxiety producing computer activity, researched and documented in large government funded rat trials * have confirmed that people are most upset by writing comments which are subsequently disparaged by ignoramuses who they do not know!  This can be remedied as well!

A properly constructed anxiety reduction algorithmic text insertion/extraction routine can very easily, using readily available computer finger printing techniques, single out every commenter on every web site and seemingly insert appropriately soothing  and complementing comments after the user's insertion, and further, seemingly extract contradictory and inflaming rejoinders, which problematic rendering would only be visible on the user's computer and  his or her friend's computers (programatically identified friends, which may be real or sexually rendered, must participate in the local view partition in order to not negate the healthful social aspect of computer enjoyment). 

In the future people will be able to go online, write odious ranting, inflammatory, irreligious, even revolutionary, radicalizing claptrap for a faretheewell,  and further, sufficiently full of obscenities so as to clear their pent up emotions, thereby therapeutically reducing tension and anxiety!  and (necessarily, unbeknownst to them) only they and their imagined friends will be able to see it on their favorite websites!

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So there it is.  Everyone gets a 'personalized' computer in the future.  Wow, is technology great or what!

*Note to the squeamish: following the rat's trials they were found not guilty and harmlessly released.


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Retired solider, locomotive engineer, baker, mechanic, welder, painter, steel worker, plumber, insurance salesman, truck driver, electrician, and pinball mechanic, and a sailor for a few days in a storm in the N. Atlantic, married a whole bunch of (more...)

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Another Modest Proposal in the War on Computer Generated Anxiety