How is this disturbing, beyond the idea of violating a family's privacy through their children's spaces? First, there's the audio aspect:
[T]he boy had previously told his parents that he was scared at night because he could hear someone talking to him over the phone. Jay and Sarah were confused as to what he meant until the hair-raising moment Sarah walked into her son's room to hear a voice say, "wake up little boy, daddy's looking for you."
Then there's the camera:
Jay heard the voice from the monitor continue to speak, saying, "look someone's coming or someone's coming into view," as Sarah walked into the room. The couple also noted that the night-vision lens was being controlled to follow their movements.
Let us pause to enjoy the photo attached to the article:
Singapore has opened an embassy in the uncanny valley by building Nadine, a new humanoid robot.
The humanoid "receptionist" was presented at a new media showcase Tuesday at NTU, where her human creator, professor Nadia Thalmann, predicted that "physical social robots such as Nadine are poised to become more visible in offices and homes in future."
Nadine was created to be a doppelganger of Thalmann, according to NTU's news release, which said the "humanoid" has "soft skin and flowing brunette hair. She smiles when greeting you, looks at you in the eye when talking, and can also shake hands with you."
The bot "can be happy or sad, depending on the conversation" and she "also has a good memory" with the ability to recognize people she's met and remember what those people have said before, NTU said.
We would include a video, but either NTU or ABC decided to make it Facebook-only.
The BBC hosted a remake of a classic 1970s work of haunted media. The Stone Tape (1972), written by the great Nigel Kneale, took place in an old haunted mansion. An innovation-hungry engineering team figures out how to use the building's stones as an audio-visual storage medium. Things... don't turn out well.
So this year the BBC asked up and coming director Peter Strickland to reimagine the tale for audio. The results follow Kneale's tale closely, set in the period. The plot follows the original, as well.
In 1979, a team of scientists moves into a new laboratory in a Victorian mansion. When Jill Greely hears a strange disembodied scream, the team decides to analyse the phenomenon, which appears to be a psychic impression trapped in the wall. The scientists begin to realise that their work has disturbed something hidden beneath the stone, something ancient and malevolent.
Period audio effects have a powerful effect, combining setting with creepiness. The conclusion is more cryptic than the original; listeners will have to determine for themselves if that's an improvement or error.
For those Infocult readers not in the UK, you can't listen from the BBC site linked above, but you can enjoy this YouTube copy.
Phil Williams G3YPQ from near Bude noticed its peculiar signal drift caused by its tumbling end over end every 4 seconds as the solar panels become shadowed by the engine. ‘This gives the signal a particularly ghostly sound as the voltage from the solar panels fluctuates’ Phil says.
YouTube comments are useful, actually, showing a nice range of perspectives:
Jambon also reportedly warned of the growing use by terror networks ofthe PlayStation 4 gaming console, which allows terrorists to communicate with each other and is difficult for the authorities to monitor. “PlayStation 4 is even more difficult to keep track of than WhatsApp,” he said.
(Although it turns out there was no evidence actually connecting the Paris attacks to a single console)
A new article compares the internet to ancient Rome's system of water supply based on lead pipes: technologically advanced, useful, and poisonous.
[Roman lead plumbing] was this amazing technological infrastructure. It was beautifully made, it provided them with an incredibly high standard of living and it also slowly, gradually made them irretrievably sick and insane*. It poisoned them day by day.
Seeing something as figuratively or literally poison is a classic fear meme.
Mental illness is a more recent, but still potent charge:
what if in 2000 years we look back on our current internet, and think of it as a fascinating but heartbreaking tale of hubris. A moment in time where people were consuming a type of technology they knew wasn’t good for them because it conferred status and prestige. And that thing they craved so much was slowly making them lose their minds.
Note the interesting class angle:
we look back at it now as this thing that was simultaneously a fascinating part of how their culture worked, and the invention of a new kind of urban living but also as something that was slowly but surely making the ruling class into people who were desperately ill with terrible impulse control without ever realizing it or understanding why.”
The author and interlocutor don't bother to translate this to the full range of contemporary society deeply invested in (and by, if I may tweak the metaphor) the internet. Perhaps they could make use of the lead-crime hypothesis.
Americans fear a lot of things, and our second-biggest terror is technology. That's according to a recent Chapman University survey, directly titled "America's Top Fears 2015".
For big categories, only what disasters humans can inflict on the world without necessarily involving technology came out ahead:
On average, Americans expressed the highest levels of fear about man-made disasters, such as terrorist attacks, followed by fears about technology, including corporate and government tracing of personal data ...
Narrowed down to specific fears, technology looms large again:
Scroll down for the Complete List of Fears, which is revealing, often unsurprising, and can be fine fodder for story ideas if you randomly combine any two or three. Beware the agin clowns! Cyberterrorists use insects to steal your identity!
The meme of dangerous selfies is starting to catch on. For example, the BBC ran a story this week surveying risky ways to take a photo of oneself.
It included this sign from a Russian anti-stupid-selfi campaign:
The Beeb led off with this hilarious Australian photo: The British should not be too cocky, however. Your humble blogger recalls seeing people crowding Westminster Bridge this January, striding out into typically berserk London traffic to take pictures of themselves in front of Big Ben, selfie sticks waggling.
So will the selfie become the next big cyberfear source, or merely a point of media humor?