On the joys of borrowed intelligence

On the joys of borrowed intelligence

Summary: There's a marvelous (probably apocryphal) story about a database vendor who was giving a sales pitch to a prospective customer's applications people, all of whom were assiduously taking notes on their PCs. The audience asked questions that got steadily more technical and abstruse until the sales reps found themselves (to their surprise and dismay) ineptly discussing the relative merits of static versus temporary tables.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Data Management
0

There's a marvelous (probably apocryphal) story about a database vendor who was giving a sales pitch to a prospective customer's applications people, all of whom were assiduously taking notes on their PCs. The audience asked questions that got steadily more technical and abstruse until the sales reps found themselves (to their surprise and dismay) ineptly discussing the relative merits of static versus temporary tables.

What was happening? The applications folks weren't taking notes: They were IMing with their technical people back at the ranch, who in turn were feeding them the most disturbing questions they could come up with. The vendor reps were hopelessly outflanked.

Separately, DARPA is funding research into "silent speech" (that will detect nerve impulses around your vocal chords and produce corresponding audible words. Think of it as sub-vocal telepathy.

So what?

I've been wondering for years when "expertise by the minute" call centers would take off--plumbers, database administrators, associate professors of English, etc.--who could be engaged for brief bursts of assistance. There have definitely been times when I'd have paid a dollar per minute for consultation with an electrician. (There have even been times, such as during one "cheerful sparkly cable" incident, when I'd have paid a lot more.)

Why can't we all be like CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer? Here's a man with a magic headset that whispers intelligent things into his ear. What if each of us had a crew of inexpensive (presumably off-shore), on-call experts of whom we could ask telepathic questions whose answers would slide into our always-worn (this is increasingly common, I've noticed--people just leave them on) Bluetooth headsets? Such a service would make us dramatically smarter in pretty much any domain we wished. I bet I could sell it to those database vendor reps.

Topic: Data Management

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

0 comments
Log in or register to start the discussion