Someone is going to do it.
When they do, they will relearn the meaning of regret. Can you imagine trusting a company with Facebook’s record on privacy to put a web-based video phone equipped with artificial intelligence software in your home? I’ve done some crazy things, but I would never do that.
This week, for instance, I stood under rotating lowered clouds in a tornado-warned storm cell and decided if a funnel materialized, I would probably survive by jumping into the shallow bar ditch along Highway 102.
I would do that every day for a month before I used a Facebook Portal video phone.
I have the Amazon Echo and Dot. I know some people are worried about those devices “listening” to them even when they aren’t trying to interact with the voice-controlled web device. I’m not sure anyone would want to listen in on conversations around our house.
But a Facebook phone? That’s all I need.
The next thing you know, your aunt Ruth would call wearing her MAGA hat telling you not to accept a friend request from her because she thinks her account has been hacked.
No, aunt Ruth, I won’t hold my finger on this message and open it in another window.
Then, next week she would call after figuring out that Facebook was limiting her to seeing only 25 friends in her news feed. Now that she has seen a shared post about it, she just wanted to call me on the Portal to let me know.
The worst part of the Facebook Portal would be if your single friends started calling you to talk about all of the drama instead of posting it online for everyone to see. I still haven’t figured out if single adults love drama because they are single or if they are single because they live lives filled with drama.
The last thing I would want is my wife video calling me to tell me about some article she read on Facebook about human trafficking with people stealing kids from the mall when their parents turned their backs for a few seconds. I’m still sleeping on the couch after telling her I didn’t believe that story because I have taken our kids to the mall for years with $100 bills stapled to their shirts and I still haven’t seen anyone show any interest in taking them.
Look, you can do whatever you want with your time. Maybe you are bored and need more problems in your life. I run a newspaper. All I do is solve problems all day because of the actually unintelligent. I don’t need an artificially intelligent Facebook video phone to add any spice to my life.
— Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.