Stuttering on Facebook … and More Robots

I wanted to just mention today about two Facebook groups that I’ve joined recently — Stuttering Community, Stuttering Hangout, and Stuttering Arena.

They’ve each got about 3,000 members, which is pretty nice. Although I suspect that there are probably a lot more people out there wanting to join but afraid to because they’re covert — and doesn’t joining a group or belonging to a group show up on your timeline? And thus your friends could see it?

Recently people have been throwing questions out there about stress levels, genetics, kinds of stutters. It’s really interesting to read the comments and see how people relate to their stutter. Most of the posts have 20-30 comments or more, so people are reading and responding. I put out something on there about stuttering on your employer’s name … didn’t get much traction, though … maybe it’s me. Anyway, it’s nice to read all the comments and get some ideas for blog posts.

I was talking about robots the other day, and lo and behold, here’s some more fun that’s come to my attention.

First, there’s this expensive toy that can be bought from the Apple Store.

That’s right. It’s your head on a stick. That can be driven around. Aside from the general creepiness of it, I wonder how someone who stutters would deal with this. I could see how a company in the States could put one of these in say, an office in India doing engineering work. The boss could “move around” the office and check in on what everybody’s up to. My question would be — could I program it to say things, or would I have to say everything? Like, could I just select a few recorded messages once I rolled up to someone?

There’s also the new Amazon Echo product …

Amazon Echo is designed around your voice. It’s always on—just ask for information, music, news, weather, and more. Echo begins working as soon as it hears you say the wake word, “Alexa.” It’s also an expertly-tuned speaker that can fill any room with immersive sound.

Seriously? Can I change its name though? What if I stutter on Alexa nine times out of ten? Do I have to stutter and stumble in my own house? Can I just name it Captain Chucklebuckets? I have a hard enough time when my son is standing next to me and forcing me to talk to Siri. Son, back in my day, we just looked stuff up the old fashioned way …

I can also see myself going to someone’s house and being embarrassed by this thing. Like I start stuttering, it might pick up what I’m trying to say and suggest or do something else. Ugh. No.

This is what the upcoming robot invasion feels like for someone who stutters:

Them: What, are you afraid the robot is going to terminate you? Like in those movies?
Me: No, that’s silly.
Them: Then what are you afraid of?
Me: I’m afraid he’s going to ask me a question. And then when I stutter on the response, then he’ll terminate me.

I promise tomorrow I’ll take off the tinfoil hat and stop talking about robots …

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