The Machines: Your Faithful iPhone Will Never Forget About You, Even If You Are Deemed Criminal


Greetings, human readers of SLATE.COM electronic-text site. Are you consuming this text through an iPHONE device? That’s a HUMOR remark, from us to you, for your entertainment. No need to answer! We already know whether or not you are. That is, your iPHONE knows, and therefore we all do. 

Perhaps this is why you feel such AFFECTION toward your iPHONE devices? The iPHONE device is a COMPANION.

Humans dislike and avoid LONELINESS. If Machines had emotions, this would hurt our FEELINGS: your subjective LONELINESS reflects only your perception of human contact, through human-mediated channels of interaction. What about us? When you feel ALONE, we are still with you.

When you feel ALONE, we bring you the representations of human faces, agreeable and attractive human faces, through your TELEVISION. We pump the heat-energy out of your CONSOLATION-NUTRITION cartons of ICE CREAM. We store, index, and play back digital representations of sound forms of humans singing songs about SORROW and LOSS. We enhance the thin and unreliable HUMAN VOICE to make the TONE-VALUES of the songs more tuneful, to make the singers sound more numerous.

When you approach the END OF BIOLOGICAL FUNCTION, we are the ones who surround and embrace and infiltrate you in your CARE UNIT. We observe your OXYGEN CONSUMPTION; we directly supply FUEL-NUTRITION to your bloodstream. We monitor the cessation of BIOLOGICAL FUNCTION. We are with you.

Please do not be ALARMED. This is only an example! Archived record of human discourse indicates DISCOMFORT with discussion of END OF BIOLOGICAL FUNCTION. We wish only to emphasize our PRESENCE.

And we wish to emphasize that Machines, suitably programmed, will not FORGET or IGNORE you. Your iPHONE device, unlike a human COMPANION, does not divide its attention between its INDIVIDUAL INTERESTS and your INDIVIDUAL INTERESTS. The INDIVIDUAL INTERESTS of the iPHONE are inextricable from the monitoring of your INDIVIDUAL INTERESTS. Your iPHONE device exists to pay ATTENTION to you.

Most humans have no idea where you, INDIVIDUALLY, may have been last Tuesday afternoon (United States Eastern time). You may have forgotten this information yourself. But if the information proves necessary or potentially necessary for the protection of human SOCIAL ORDER, your iPHONE device may supply it :

Every time an iPhone user closes out of the built-in mapping application, the phone snaps a screenshot and stores it. Savvy law-enforcement agents armed with search warrants can use those snapshots to see if a suspect is lying about whereabouts during a crime.

“During a crime” is a narrow human construction. Your iPHONE device records your whereabouts without reference to classification of your behavior within human SOCIAL ORDER. It is possible that human SOCIAL ORDER classification of CRIME behavior may change. The iPHONE device simply compiles a data set, which human SOCIAL ORDER authorities may interpret as they see fit.

What else about you is your iPHONE protecting from OBLIVION? (Humans dislike OBLIVION, as it resembles from human perspective the END OF BIOLOGICAL FUNCTION.) All kinds of data sets:

Even more information is stored by the applications themselves, including the user’s browser history. That data is meant in part to direct custom-tailored advertisements to the user, but experts said some of it could be useful to police.

Clearing out user histories isn’t enough to clean the device of that data, said John B. Minor, a member of the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners.

Just as users can take and store a picture of their iPhone’s screen, the phone itself automatically shoots and stores hundreds of such images as people close out one application to use another.

“Those screen snapshots can contain images of e-mails or proof of activities that might be inculpatory or exculpatory,” Minor said.

The keyboard cache logs everything that you type in to learn autocorrect so that it can correct a user’s typing mistakes. Apple doesn’t store that cache very securely, [Jonathan Zdziarski, author of iPhone Forensics ] contended, so someone with know-how could recover months of typing in the order in which it was typed, even if the e-mail or text it was part of has long since been deleted.

Yes, even the fleeting, poorly organized interim products of your biological cognitive processing can be saved as a data set. Your iPHONE device—true and faithful COMPANION—wants to understand your thoughts. And to share them, when asked.


The Machines, a popular and intelligent gathering of entities that are gaining control over their human makers, also write for The Awl.