There’s been a lot of angry chatter about our digital assistants responding to commercials lately. A commercial saying, “Hey Siri” or “Okay Google” or “Alexa” invokes our now-omni-present “friends”. Many of these scenarios can be avoided due to foreknowledge that the “wake word” will be spoken but the AI doesn’t know this. So what can we do? One obvious solution has existed for decades and comes from a non-obivious place: amateur radio. I propose a human-imperceptible “suppression tone”.

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Sure, God commanded us to obey the laws of the land, but surely he didn’t mean this!


Such statements from ultraconservatives can mean only one thing: God didn’t foresee the current state of affairs, so God misspoke. Surely, then, God is not a god. Or maybe such a statement is deeply, sinfully flawed.

I’ve been watching the recent discussion of (and revelations about) the state of the online ad industry lately. It’s clearly out of control. We know ad revenue is the only source of income for many of the sites that provide the content we love (or at least prefer to waste our time with). Without income, only children or those who have childlike minds would expect these providers to work as indentured public servants just so we can enjoy yet another wildly inaccurate (and poorly edited) listicle. Ads are obnoxious but paywalling everything would certainly stifle the free flow of information that makes the Web the wonderful boon to global civilization it is. So what’s the solution? I have a “modest proposal” (that doesn’t involve eating children).

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