Weekly Challenge #727 – DEVICE


“This is a magical device. You open it and things jump at your face and hit your eyes. As you touch it, you may have an allergic reaction and sneeze, especially if the device is quite old. But… beware. You must hide it. You must hide it carefully. This device was brought to us millions and millions of years ago by the humans.”
“What could jump out of it?”
“Human dust?”
“But also words, and ideas, and doubts, and questions.”
“Human questions?”
“No, just questions.”
“Will they make me smile?”
“Yes, they’ll make you smile a human smile.”


Call me…

“The hand-held device is dead!”

The guy on the stage beamed broadly at us, as we waited expectantly for our first view of the iPhone 25XL.

Unexpectedly, an x-ray picture appeared on the screen.

“This,” he continued, “is my body, which through applied nanotechnology, takes all the functionality of a traditional phone, and organically manipulates my body to replicate them.”

“My ears – programmed to receive calls… My eyes, to capture images… And my brain offers unlimited storage capacity!”

“It is a work in progress though…” – he looked sheepish.

“You really don’t want to know where we plug the charger in!”


Good news, I got my children to listen to The Mutual Audio Drama Network podcast. Bad news, when Jack talked about things people could do in isolation my children just heard the “Practice Magic” part and nothing else on his list. Sadly, when I left them to their own devices they summoned a demon into our garage. .

Not sure what to do. The demon offered me great wealth for half of what remains of the Costco size bag of toilet paper in the garage which I bought before the quarantine because it thinks it can buy a soul per roll.


Your train is fitted with a device which locks both doors and brakes in the event of a breakdown. This is why you are currently stationary and cannot leave the train.

The train heading towards you at seventy miles per hour is also fitted with a safety device, which will automatically apply the brakes in good time if an obstacle is detected on the track ahead.

Unfortunately for you, I have disabled that device.

I therefore regret to inform you that your next stop will be the afterlife.

Please have tickets ready for inspection, as death passes along the carriage.


ONE more Be-Day

A wise guy once said: How can yous know de holy unless yous known the de vice. I think dat was de Marquis de Sade, but de quotes was: In order to know de virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with de vice. His acquaints must come from Brooklyn. Nay is think they’re from Jersey Shores. Will that explains the de vice part those guys down there are pretty twisted bunch. Ya, I knew this girl from Seaside Heights the things she could do with a Bic lighter would make your eye roll back in your head. AAh Sweet de vile.


Ever since near-disasters with self-improving AI, the Ministry of Devices exercises strict control over the ingenuity of inventors. Anything that can make more of itself is forbidden. Nothing may run indefinitely without human intervention. Turing completeness is especially outlawed. Machines must be simple, understandable devices, performing clear, limited tasks, and dependent on human supervision.

Even then, unforeseen combinations of devices on occasion produce an emergent mind, and then we battle to prevent it from consuming us for its own unknowable purposes.

A machine to analyse the entire device ecosystem to prevent this would necessarily be the most forbidden of all.


“Before you go, look at this,” Billbert’s dad said, taking a pen from his pocket and holding it up.
Marissa covered her eyes and ran for the car. “Don’t look at it dad. It’s a memory wiping device.”
Mr. Albroggetti scowled. “It’s just a pen.”
“Is it?” Mr. Wienerheimer asked. “Have you never seen, Men in Black?”
“I don’t waste my time with garbage like that,” Mr. Albroggetti said.
“Good.” The top of the pen flashed a blinding blue light.
Bilbert’s father took Mr. Albroggetti by the arm. “Thanks for coming over,” he said, guiding the man to his car.


We found the device on the dark side of the moon.
Buried under tons of rock.
There were instruction on how to power it and activate it.
But nothing about what it did.
No matter how much we examined it, we couldn’t figure it out.
People speculated, but nobody really knew.
The technology was just far too beyond ours to understand.
So, we buried it again.
And built a relay station on top of it.
Nobody will know it’s there.
Or ever be tempted to use it.
I’ve set this shuttle’s engines to explore on liftoff.
Nobody will tell anything.

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