I'VE JUST been visited by a man claiming to be from eight years in the future. This is the week everything changed. He'd been sent back to warn us, but since Google started making our phone calls for us, his vocal skills had become so underdeveloped. I misunderstood and spend 40 minutes trying to offer him pineapple Kia-Ora with squirty cream.
Once that was resolved using some Teletubbies flash cards and a satsuma (he was still hungry) he explained to me what had happened, and how I could help save the future.
You see, this is how it began. Google I/O. That demonstration where they got Google Assistant to make a clandestine call to make an appointment on someone's behalf.
By 2023, free from the tyranny of the now-legendary 'Trump Years' which ended… well, we all know how it ended, the US Government led by President Stormy Daniels (approval rating 97 per cent), announces that it has bought a licence to give everyone in the world a Google Assistant proxy.
They didn't insist that Google give it a proper name, but there was still red-tape left over from the decision to cover all the Democrats in gold leaf so they couldn't raise their hands to vote, so small miracle that there was a bill at all.
Meanwhile, owing to a miscalculation involving a bottle of tequila and a Mexican hooker, a New York man decides he'd better make a doctor's appointment.
"OK Google, call the doctor and make me an appointment before it falls off".
"OK, calling Doctor Jones in a false voice".
"I'm connected - wait a moment".
Cut to an expensive looking doctor's office. Since the UN brought in compulsory Universal Health Care, this is the norm. Plus the sponsorship money from Pepsi means you know every doctor in the world will have a vending machine chock-full of pulp-free Tropicana and Doritos.
Google has decided to use the voice of Senator Roseanne Barr (NY, Rep.)
"Hello, Doctor Jones' office".
"Hello Doctor Jones office. Could I speak to the person who makes the appointments for Doctor Jones office?"
"This is she".
"I'm sorry, did you mean 'this is Sheep'?"
"OK. I will call you Sheep. Tell me Sheep, how are you today?"
"I'm very busy - can I help you?"
"Hello Sheep. Does Sheep make the appointments for before it falls off?"
"If you are not sure, I can give you some suggested responses. These include 'I do', 'You have the wrong number, did you copy it down from the men's room wall correctly?' and 'Baaaaaaaaaaaa'. Which would you like?"
"Look - I am really busy - do you need to see Doctor Jones or not?"
"OK Sheep, playing Doctor Jones by Aqua on Mark's Spotify".
"So the patient's name is Mark?"
Aqua's insipid second single 'Doctor Jones' cuts in.
"SO THE PATIENT'S NAME IS MARK? IS THAT CORRECT MA'AM?"
"Doctor Jones, Doctor Jones,
Get up now, wake up now"
"Ma'am I am hanging up the phone if you don''t Stop playing Aqua".
"Stopping playing Aqua".
"Thank you, now would you like to make an appointment with Doctor Jones for someone called Mark?"
"Yes. Make an appointment with Mark for before it falls off".
"Before what falls off?"
"I'm sorry, Sheep, I don't have that information".
"Ma'am - triage is part of my job".
"I will check Mark's emails for evidence of what is before it falls off".
"Sheep. There is a Google calendar entry for 9 May that shows a blank appointment at 9pm. I have cross-referenced with Gmail and in a conversation called 'Skank' he writes to 'call Arseface': 'Going to finally nail that Mexican chick tonight. I hope she doesn't have clap'. Does this seem a good reason for call Doctor Jones before it falls off?"
"That will do. Can he come in at 1020?"
"I'm sorry, I cannot book a calendar appointment for can he come in at 1020 because he has an existing appointment called 'Proctology' at that time. Shall I look for a time?"
"Mark has time at 10pm, 10.15pm, 10.20pm, 10.30pm".
"We close at 7pm".
"I'm sorry, are you saying you are not able to book an appointment at 10pm, 10.15pm, 10.20pm, 10.30pm for before it falls off?"
"No. We'll be in our homes".
"Showing pictures for Sherlock Holmes".
"Again, I'm hanging up now".
"Thank you for hanging up before it falls off, Sheep."
So now you know. After hearing that, the man faded from view, his timeline now a dead end. This can only mean one thing. Somehow I fix the future. I'm still not sure how. But I might need to book next Thursday off. And two weeks ago last Wednesday. µ
Upcoming flagships might not switch to USB-C after all
Netflix without the chill
The best things come in the same sized package as last time
'Open source' and 'Microsoft' in same sentence shock