Sociopathic Caller ID

One little Nugget that I found while browsing the web is that Amazon Corporate has a system whereby a robot voice announces each caller - when a person on level N calls a person on level M, an automated voice announces the caller to the callee, explaining the name and ‘level’ of the person making the call within the Amazon hierarchy.

I think this is wonderful in an “Orwellian Nightmare Endgame Scenario” kind of way.

Just think what could be accomplished if this sort of information was integrated into the world at large? e.g. Social comparisons prompted automatically - when you receive a call, your phone displays the name and salary, relationship duration, house value, car, last holiday, a brief pastiche of their CV, from the person making the call.

This is how we can exploit vast the NSA and IRS databases - after all, these databases are expensive to maintain, so we must monetise them, goes the logic.

Occam’s Razor implies that the reason that Fox News et al exist is because humanity intrinsically wants to discriminate against one another, and that the most pressing question facing our society today is to find the socially acceptable and justifiable criteria on which to base this necessary discrimination.

If we’re going to rule out race, gender, sexuality, disability, religion, as grounds for arbitrary discrimination (as we should), then the corollary is that we create an urgent need for the right to identify and legitimize new (arbitrary) criteria on which to perpetuate discrimination.

Income, rented versus owned housing, education, absence/introduction of petty, daily, ritualised workplace humiliations a la Amazon - all look like good ways of introducing arbitrary social tension. This is why the Google Bus creates such anger. This is why McDonald’s and WalMart fight so hard to keep their workers on the minimum wage.


Perhaps the phones could dispense some sort of behavior modifying substance based on the levels – the underling gets something that fosters obedience; the superior gets some nasty scent that makes interacting with the low-level person incredibly unpleasant.

With any luck, incredibly poncy uber-retro fashions will come along to help us distinguish the elite from the plebs…

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Caller is greater than +20 of your social status credit. The call has been answered, the device locked on and pulse and galvanic sensors activated. Please speak clearly and obediently into the camera and do not frown.


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