A Ghost In The Phone: An Open Letter To Steve Jobs

December 9, 2020 uncategorized

ghost phone

Mr. Steven Paul Jobs,

Much like marriage, as my iPhone and I continue to discover our relationship together, I have started to notice quirks that were never there at the onset of our relationship. For instance, the subtle way my phone drops calls when someone flicks a lightswtich. Or the way Facetime makes anyone using the forward facing camera look like Jabba the Hut. But perhaps the most fascinating quirk that I’ve recently discovered with the iPhone 4G is that it seems to have a mind of its own.

I’m sure it’s a “feature,” but my phone has recently taken the habit of making phone calls on its own accord. Now far be it from me to impose my will on a piece of Apple technology, I politely asked the phone, “Cupertizzle-dizzle,” [that’s my phone’s name], “Why did you call my dog’s breeder at 7:00am this morning?”

What was shocking was:

A) that my phone hasn’t learned how to speak English fluently enough to reply (just try Voice Control and see how well it understands language, “Five-thirty” is not equal to “Snorkel party”), and
B) that my phone likes to call random people in my contact list for no apparent reason.
To clarify, my phone called someone this morning and had a 1 minute conversation with them without even asking my permission. Now because of A) above, all this person heard was silence. How rude! Bad iphone!

The callee, confused as to why a semi-sentient artificial intelligence construct would call him at 7:00a in the morning to say nothing other than “…”, called me back.

“Hi Nate, did you call just now?” To which I replied, “I didn’t call” – to which the gentleman says internally, “Someone needs to stop drinking before 10am”, but actually says, “Oh that’s odd. Talk to you later!”

Dearest Steve, please note that the entire time my phone is chatting it up with my contact list, my phone is lying on the bed, 5 feet away from me while I’m trying to get one leg through my boxer briefs. Like recent publicized reception problems, user error most certainly appeared to be the culprit.

I thought I was crazy, or that my phone disapproved of my undergarment selection, until I started talking to other people. I say to them “Hey, I have semi-sentient life in my pocket”, to which they say, “That’s gross”, to which I reply, “No, I mean my iphone makes calls to other people when it’s bored,” to which they reply “Mine too!!”

I’ve talked to at least 3 other folks with similar experiences (which if you enjoy statistics, you realize is an extremely weak value of N) and have quite confidently come to the conclusion that my phone is the captain of its own ship. Which is cool, I guess. I just wish it could learn English so we could have real conversations about feelings and stuff.

There is a silver lining to this story, which is the fact that I am no longer single and have no contacts to which scary silent phone calls could be misinterpreted and lead to awkward follow up conversations or guilt-dinners.

So Mr. Jobs, if you could look into the semi-sentient behavior of your device, it would be much appreciated.

P.S. I’m sorry about the class action lawsuits, they weren’t my idea, really.


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