The news, is and has been somewhat of a Debbie-Downer and I have kept clear of it. We have instead been listening to heartening material such as Horton Hatches The Egg. This morning, I switched to NPR, and as usual, the news was ready with a bucket of cold water to pour on my head.
The correspondent droned on about how companies in the USA are rethinking employees’ travel plans given that people are made to give up their phones, laptops and even social media usernames and passwords. This was an idea that was floating around in late January:
This idea of asking for social media profiles is abhorrent to me, given that we are further enabling algorithms to slice and dice the populace based on one’s likes and dislikes. But I burst out laughing while listening to it, and probably had folks wonder why.
Lexicon: Maama: Uncle; Maami: Aunty; Kaapi: Coffee
Let us assume Kittu Maama is planning to visit his daughter in the Golden Land of the USA to celebrate his 70th birthday with his grandchildren. Kittu Maama has been flagged as having strong opinions on Sasikala, Filter Coffee pronounced Kaapi and Dasavatharam (still baffled whether his views are on the movie or mythology).
In any case, they being the Esteemed and Respected Parents of Silicon Valley Engineers of Indian origin, the administration rubs their hands in glee to data science the heck out of this one.
That’s when the Mannar & Mannar Coffee Conspiracy comes to light.
Kittu Maama and Maami’s social media posts are intriguing.
Day 1: Shared: Good morning – filter coffee is good.
Day 2: Shared: Good morning – filter coffee is the best.
Day 3: Shared: Good morning – filter coffee.
Day 4: Shared: Good morning – filter coffee is very good.
Riveting as these posts were, investigators are unable to fathom the train of thought here.
(a) The posts are being shared from someone’s feed, and this person does not seem to rank high on Kittu Maama’s or his wife’s list of adored folks. Baffling. Why would they go and share it everyday?
(b) The original photograph on closer examination (after using sufficient zooming techniques), had inscriptions on the coffee cup that translated to, ‘This cup was stolen from Muruga Vilas.‘
Could Kittu Maama be tipping off gangs on stolen silverware?
A few days later, Kittu Maama’s daughter calls from the USA, and asks how they are doing. “What is with your coffee posts everyday?, “ she asks.
The investigators on the nose of this Mannar & Mannar Coffee conspiracy case pick up the dials on the board: Phone calls being made and substance being discussed. Tap and apply algorithm. Quick.
“You only said that we should share if we like something? I don’t know why he puts coffee out everyday, I know Ambujam Maami does not make filter kaapi like that.”, said Mrs Kittu Maama alias Kittu Maami.
To which Kittu Maama chimed in, “Yes, in fact when I go there, I hastily say no to coffee. I stop at Saravana Bhavan on the way back and have good filter coffee there before heading back. “
The FBI is stumped. There must be something here. Could there really be no conspiracy here? Just daughter-discussing-ditchwater-kaapi? But everyday on Facebook, and on International Phone Calls?
A dial spins in the other room. WhatsApp shared: Helpfully labelled ‘Coffee joke’
Is it worth putting a drone on them?
Not just yet.
Note: While the scenario above was light-hearted and frivolous, it is useful for us to know exactly how our social media profiles have been used, and can be used in the future.
Excerpt from Nextdraft (http://nextdraft.com/archives/n20161123/turkey-shoot/)
Cambridge Analytica worked on the Trump campaign. They also worked for those in favor or Brexit. Now they’re in talks to score a couple new big contracts.