The new 'Maximum Overdrive': Could our appliances be too smart?
In the 1980s Stephen King movie, "Maximum Overdrive," the machines of the Earth rise up and begin off-ing their human owners.
Nowadays, their actions could be much worse.
TV-maker Vizio got in trouble for using automated content recognition, which allowed them to collect owners' viewing information without their knowledge. And then there was all the flack Kellyanne Conway received last week when she made comments that smart TVs and microwaves could possibly be used as spying devices.
That got me thinking: As our appliances get smarter, should we start watching our backs? What if our appliances could watch us and — even worse — report to someone what we've done?
What tales of cilia-laced horror would my nose hair trimmer share? What if my microwave reported how much Velveeta I melt in a year? And imagine my Shop Vac's terrifying saga, "The Sewer Backup Massacre of 2009."
Think about it. Our appliances have every reason to carry a grudge. They are basically our electronic slaves, doomed to perform our dirtiest work. They see us at our most slovenly and vulnerable.
Just imagine what they could reveal if given the chance.
Electric toothbrush: She eats ribs, doesn't floss that night and then expects me to perform miracles. Also ... her breath? It should be spelled "HELL-itosis."
Dishwasher: OK, if she's not going to rinse the dishes first, she cannot yell at me and threaten to replace me when I can't clean off all the food. Speaking of which, when is the last time she cleaned out my trap? There's like a pound of macaroni in there, idiot.
Vacuum: She doesn't bother vacuuming under anything. No wonder there are "Night of the Lepus"-sized dust bunnies under the couch. Also, my filter was supposed to be replaced in 2007.
Garbage disposal: For the record, I am designed to grind up vegetable peels, apple cores and other reasonable food waste. That does not include corn cobs, a Lego or an entire turkey carcass.
Sonic facial scrubber: All I can say is that she has pores you could bathe a baby in.
Washer: Red socks with white towels? Really? Apparently she is Richie Cunningham on his first day of college.
Also, she is obsessed with soap. The bottle clearly says you should not overuse it, and yet she dumps it in me as if the ocean is made of Tide. Apparently, she doesn't think I can do my job.
By the way, my instructions — printed very clearly on the inside of the lid — say that she should not pack me with clothes so tightly that I feel like I've eaten two Thanksgiving dinners. It just gets me really agitated.
Dryer: Here's a hint you can pass along to the genius: When the lint inside the trap is so thick it could make a winter coat for a poodle, it's time to clean it out. And what's with all those tennis balls she puts inside me to fluff up comforters? That hurts!
I'm not a machine, you know.
Readers can reach columnist Tammy Swift at firstname.lastname@example.org.