Sneak was surprised to receive a text message today via the BT Text service, which uses a computer-generated female voice to read SMS messages aloud over phones that would otherwise be incapable of receiving the message. It's a pretty impressive service, particularly given that it must cope with all the abbreviations, absent grammar and misspellings commonly seen in such missives. But users should beware. As with AOL's over-eager Instant Messenger service, sometimes an element of Chinese whispering can creep in when a computerised system starts guessing at human intent. Sneak checked, and the sender of this morning's message signed off "see you anon". As anyone with a dictionary can easily verify, anon means "soon". BT's sultry voice, however, purred: "See you. Anonymous." While Sneak is happy to have anonymous female admirers, Sneak can't help wondering if there are other examples of embarrassing misinterpretations made by BT's system, with more calamitous consequences.
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