Siri: “You’re Looking A Bit Sad”

With its latest iPhone, Apple introduces Face ID. With it, users can unlock their phones by just looking at them. Microsoft has had a similar feature called Windows Hello for a few years, so Apple is playing catch up here, but Apple has been copying others for a few years now so this is nothing new.

Now that Apple has this capability, the question is how it plans to use in the future. Microsoft has pretty much left it to unlocking devices. But Apple wants to be an innovator and it is hard to believe that is as far as it will take it.

There are already algorithms that can tell your mood from your picture. If you look sad, will Apple automatically open your phone to a happy news story or iTunes song? Or automatically add an emoji to your texts when you are angry? Talk about autocorrect fails – sending a angry by mistake could really hurt!

On the other hand, if the phone detects that you are angry, Siri could pop a warning for you to cool down before pressing send on that email or text.

The algorithms can also make a pretty good guess of your gender, age, weight, etc. Maybe Apple will use this to ‘help’ you shop. Or find a date.

The worst would be Siri automatically sending a text to you parents if it detected something amiss. Who wouldn’t want their mother calling all the time asking what’s wrong?

What if Apple starts making your face, or some data gleaned from it, available to others, like it does with location? It could all get very creepy very quickly, appropriate for a phone with a Halloween release date.

 

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Now Trump Owns Kelly

John Kelly probably thought that he was operating by the old rules. There are just things that one did not do. Lines one does not cross.

Yet, after working as Donald Trump’s chief of staff for two and half months why didn’t he realize that Trump doesn’t have any lines? When Trump is attacked, he fights back with whatever he can, even if it means fighting dirty. In fact, Trump’s base is tired of Washington’s version of the the Marquess of Queensberry rules. They want him to fight to win, and they don’t care how.

So Trump had no compulsions about dragging Kelly’s dead Marine son into a Twitter battle that he was having with a Gold Star family and their congresswoman. What is surprising is that Kelly allowed himself to be goaded into defending Trump publicly, even spouting ‘facts’ that turned out to be false.

Kelly, a Gold Star father, publicly lied to defend his boss’ public lies about his conversation with a Gold Star mother.

Kelly’s wife is probably furious with him for not telling off Trump after he brought their son’s death into national politics and for then allowing his integrity, and by extension their family’s, to be publicly compromised.

But what can Kelly do? He likely believes, as Bob Corker pointed out, that he is one of the few people keeping Trump from starting World War Three.  His sense of duty to the country won’t let him quit.

Once a bully finds out he can roll over you, he will keep doing it. Trump rolled over Kelly and got away with it. And now he owns Kelly.

PR Good PR For Trump

Donald Trump engages in a Twitter battle with the mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico and scolds the island over its finances and behavior. The press, as usual is aghast. The President, as usual, is getting great PR where it counts – with his base.

Trump is treating the Puerto Ricans like little kids that don’t know how to take care of themselves or what is good for themselves. This resonates with the base, who see Puerto Rico as a proxy for Hispanics in general, especially the illegal sort. Calling them out as irresponsible is red meat for the base.

Trump actually has a point here. The Puerto Rican government has not managed its finances well over the past decade as economy slowed down, incentives to invest there were phased out and the population and tax base decreased. They over-borrowed, can’t pay their loans back and need a bailout. Calling them out for sucking on the federal government’s teat is more red meat for the base.

Meanwhile the liberals are making a lot of noise about Trump picking on the helpless, hurricane-ravaged, minority Puerto Ricans. The base just loves this, because the liberals are acting emotionally and the base knows that Trump is right. FEMA cannot stay in Puerto Rico forever and something will have to be done about the massive Puerto Rican debt. The base loves calling out the liberals for knee jerk anti Trump reactions.

 

Trump’s Wins Hide Losses

Despite all of the issues and drama around the presidency of Donald Trump, he has managed to retain approval ratings of 35-40%. That is not stellar, but considering the turmoil surrounding his administration and his lack of success achieving his legislative agenda, it is amazing it remains so steady.

Trump knows that criticism from the media or the Republican establishment (never mind the Democrats) only strengthens support among his core. He also knows that there are a few things that are sure to turn his core against him. The big kahuna is becoming a loser.

That is why Trump fights so hard on every issue. He needs to ‘win’ every Twitter exchange, every exchange with Congress, every argument. Any time he backs down or compromises he risks becoming a loser. And his base won’t support a loser.

This is not new. The Democrats were desperate for Barak Obama to show up the obstructionist Republicans in Congress when he came into office. Their hearts wanted him to fight hard, but their heads saw the tactics as unseemly (never mind that Obama was not a street fighter). Trump’s supporters have no such reservations, in fact they prefer unseemly and so does he.

Losing on healthcare reform (3 times) didn’t look good for Trump. So did losing on the Alabama senate primary. Trump’s Secretary of State calling his boss a ‘fucking moron’ and getting away with it was another notch in Trump’s loser belt.

We’ll see what happens to tax reform, but that is really not a burning sands issue for his base. Immigrants and the Mexican wall are. And Trump compromised the border wall away in his negotiations with ‘Chuck and Nancy’. The base sees that at a loser move.

Trump finds it easy to rack up wins in the culture wars, so he keeps going after them hoping they will distract the base from his losses. So far it is working. But if Breitbart ever uses a “Losing” headline on an article about Trump, watch out.

 

Trump Tweets – Media SQUIRREL!

Donald Trump continues his mastery over the media. Whenever he gets in a bad spot he ‘squirrels’ the media and sends them chasing after a sensationalist but squirrelrelatively meaningless story to get himself out of trouble.

Obamacare repeal fails (again)? No problem – toss out a tweet on NFL players disrespecting the flag and the military. Oh look, everyone is following that story now.

Federal help to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico is late, inept and inadequate? Pick a Twitter fight with a local politician so the press will chase that story instead.

It is simply amazing that almost a year after the election the political media has not figured out how to report on Trump’s tweets without being manipulated by them. Trump brought profound changes American politics – it remains to be seen whether the media will be able to adapt. So far, it does not look good.

 

Trump vs. Flake

Donald Trump has a lot riding on Arizona Senator Jeff Flake. Trump’s M.O. is classic bully: threaten someone mercilessly with the expectation that they will kowtow to you because you are stronger. Trump’s message to Flake is, “I can take your senate seat away by supporting your opponent so you’d better get in line.”

If Flake wins his primary battle a year from now (August 2018) then Trump’s threats will be shown to be empty. This could be right around the time that the Senate is considering impeachment charges against Trump, assuming the House actually proffers them. Even if not, senate committees could be uncovering a whole lot of unflattering information about the Donald, his business and his political alliances with the Russians, Arabs and others.

Not a good time to have Flake win the primary and show that your threats are harmless.