Sunday, November 25, 2007


I have finally overcome my prejudice against non-people and am now able to carry on level-headed telephone conversations with machines. No matter how many times I have to be routed either by pressing a button or by making a voice command, I find myself fully at ease and competent in navigating the complexities of the interactive voice response systems I regularly encounter.

I am perfectly comfortable with the ones who call me too, in fact, I find it much easier to conveniently end the conversation with them than with the human telemarketers.

One thing still irks me, though. The machines have an identity crisis. They aren't sure if they should call themselves "I" or "the system" or the royal "we" or just always use the passive voice and avoid identity altogether.

I think it is time that we gave the speaking objects their own pronoun, and I would like to propose the pronoun "Iyt", a mix between "I" and "It". This would make everyone more comfortable. The machine could then just say "Iyt am transferring your call." I'm having more trouble with the direct object, though. Meet and mitt are taken, though "Please tell meet your name," does have a good ring to it.

Well, coining one word is just going to have to be good enough for me. You're welcome to make your own proposals.

1 comment:

doyle said...

Iyt's a lovely word, and one I might start using.

For the rest of the day my mind is going to be twirling with language and identity--first thing I read on the puter this morning was your quick comment about mosquito sexing. Now while snooping in your blog, I find this, a lovely post.

So now you got me thinking about how to use third person pronouns for non-human organisms, and I may have to coin a new word as well.