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  • Writer's pictureRiley Murphy

Mata Hari Would Be Stumped

This post is inspired by the research I'm doing for a book and the info I came across when I did some freelance work writing comedy. As to the latter, I thought I’d give writing for someone else a try, while I worked on my next book. It helps with the remodel in that I’m not hovering over the construction site so much.

A.K.A? No divorce yet...haha!

As to the freelance endeavor it was a great experience and it opened up an avenue of thought that has inspired me on many different fronts. Check it out.

Meaning of Mata Hari: Eye of the day

Yes. This post is about a certain level of sneaky spying, so I thought I’d bring the lady spy herself into the mix for fun. Interesting to note, given the meaning of her chosen stage name, a person would have to assume there is an ‘Eye of the night’. Anyone know who that could be?

I’m guessing it’s my sprinkler system or my neighbor’s plastic Mr. Potato-esque head face thing hanging on his tall tree that glares at me from a far. Hey, it could be that. People use them with hidden wilderness cameras to catch the deer in their lights, but I’m going on record here today by telling you that those suckers scare the poor animals away and you’re not likely to get any candid shots of anything but a neighborhood resident who doesn’t like to be filmed.

Just sayin’.

But back to my mini-investigation into the cyber wi-fi stalking that is often mistaken for a coincidence. Example. You say something over coffee in the morning to your friend about a brass banana and later on that day you are staring at a version of one on your phone and TV. Coincidence? No way.

That’s what I say, because, well there’s too much to think about, right? What with voice recognition software, “Hi Alexa!” Text to speech is only one link away. I mean, if wi-fi can pick up and analyze the very unique and specific topic of a brass banana you were speaking about with your friend that morning – enough that it can tailor Ads to your TV or cell for you to view, why couldn’t it infiltrate a CEO’s office? A President’s oval office? A rich person’s family room to text out to their nefarious human cohort what the rich his/her person's opinion is, on say, the stock market or any news that could make them richer?

I know that I have been guilty of blaming those ghost-like co-winky-dinks for the loss of some of my best cheap design finds. Okay, laugh if you like, but I work hard to find them and when there are a cabillion on hand one day and none the next day for me to grab more of, I give that a squint. Especially as it happens over and over again. Meh, that’s just my little way of getting over a sulk and blaming something or someone for the loss. But the other stuff?

It’s scary to think about.

I do of course. I have to. I’m a writer and my current WIP has a little of this in the storyline, because my hero is brought into an inner circle of an advertising proposal that he’s loathe to agree to. Why? It goes against his grain to get an advantage over his clients, the public, the people using his products. He’s old school and thinks this is a sketchy loophole opportunity he doesn’t want to participate in.

Sure, he was offered a sweet advertising deal with a company that specializes in sound bytes, analytics, and you know, basic invasion of privacy stuff like that when applied to certain sectors of the populous who were never given a choice, but he does have a choice, and that’s what makes great story potential from my point of view.

*Gives you a curt nod so you’ll follow along with me here*

The advertising company can pair two predictable analytical finds together to better their odds. Say the wi-fi in a house catches the high point of words such as duct tape, fertilizer and avocado.

Don’t judge me. I know that list sounds like a potential perpetrators shopping bag, but let’s ignore that for now and watch as the people in the house use their computers, tablets and phones to communicate privately. Those unbiased search engines are on fire with lawn care, guacamole, and suggestions about how to fix a leaking AC duct. Suddenly the high point words make sense and the new AI techno-genius computer created for advertising through commercials, is fired up as well. Why, you may ask?

(I took out the information that I felt was an invasion of privacy even on this meme!)

The AI fortune teller mage has correctly predicted that the people in the home that they are scanning aren’t going to murder anyone (as first thought) <- again, shoot me, I read a story once where a guy was killed by a ping to the head by an avocado. 😊 The computer surmises the people of the house are having a BBQ on Saturday where they need a nice lawn, a great dip and some well sealed air ducts for their guests who may want to escape the afternoon heat. You notice I said Saturday and not Sunday? Yeah, the search engines determined that the delivery days for Sunday that were offered with those purchases the family needed to make, were declined as being too late a date.

Phew… I should be glad to hear that, right? At least about the fact that the family isn’t going perpetrate a crime.

Wait. No, I shouldn’t be glad. I shouldn’t be involved with knowing about any of this, as it’s none of my business until I am involved in a true-to-me reality when it’s occurring. They did a movie about preempting a true reality. It was called Minority Report.

Only in the movie, the premise was shopped to the watcher as a fortune telling of future happenings. I will blog about my opinion of this which ties into the reason I wouldn’t continue watching the movie beyond the twenty percent range. Biggest flaw of the storyline from a writing perspective happens right then and there, so I walked away. My family when I did? Yeah, they were booing and hissing at me, but I couldn’t stay to watch. It went against my writing code of personal ethics. No worries, I will never post about it because I don’t want to wreck it for any of you. Non writers wouldn’t have seen the problem. That’s why it was a smashing success.

*Blows out a big frustrated breath* This is one of the downsides of being an author.

But hey, let’s get back to the point of the wi-fi AI version of Minority Report. If I’m playing along, I’m on a roller coaster ride of one minute I’m believing that a family is planning an abduction, and in the next the correction is that they are planning a BBQ.

Think of that list. Duct tape, fertilizer and avocado. As a regular person without a huge database to hold up to analyze against, I would think and say, what I usually say to the checkout out person at my grocery store when I have totally unrelated items to purchase. “We’re having a party.”

It’s true. One day I’m buying toilet paper and a tomato, and the next I might be picking up a bottle of wine and shaving cream. What’s not to party with? But hey, if you asked an AI to analyze the similarities or pairings what would the AI say? Well, I looked it up.

Google is an AI, so I only Googled it. I didn’t seek out Hal, Watson or Alexa or something. They are too sentient for me. 😉 But, here’s the point. The AI didn’t have a pairing. It had separate events explained for both items. As in, growing tomatoes and what to wipe your derrière with. The more sentient AI that writes content would have probably spun a story out of the pair because its’ database has what Google’s is missing. <- I covered this in another post click the link and scroll to the bottom for that. It’s interesting, you know? But back to my BBQ wi-fi spy air waves thought for the day.

The reason they (sentient AI’s wi-fi wave audio high point word pickers) get away with this invasion when they shouldn’t is because, we don’t really talk about it. Or we haven’t. Maybe it wasn’t so intrusive before. Now? I find the technique is smacking me in the face. Even still do we readily share this information? Take at the BBQ party for instance. Who wants to talk about their house problems (leaking duct and weed infested lawn) on a day you’re working hard to make things at the old abode shine?


And this is a big one.

It wouldn’t surprise me, if the homeowner mentioned the coincidence like I’m going to do in my next book. Hehehehe! I can be sneaky too. For my BBQ guys I’d write it like this,

“I’ve never seen so many commercials about fertilizers. It’s the oddest thing. I even got some junk in the mail about the product. Hey, did you know we did our lawn in honor of this very occasion? We sure did. Gee, it’s almost as if they spied us on a satellite or something.” <- Actually, I don’t think my character would be that thick.


You never know though.

I could write it this way to get the point across.

“It’s the darndest thing. We had this small tear in our hallway AC duct and I mentioned it to the wife. I told her I needed to buy some duct tape to seal it up and you know what? Right there in front of me on the television was a commercial about the big sale the local hardware store was having on that silver tape. It was like someone told them.”

His wife calls out, “Henry, tell them what came in your email.”

The husband made a comical face and then popped his brows. “Well, I wasn’t going to mention it in polite company, but there was an advertisement of a similar tape product that dealt with spicing up your marriage. Ingenious. The tape looked the same, but it had very little stickiness.”

“Oh, come on, Henry. There are no children about. You can tell them. It read, ‘If you want to stick it to her, use our—sounds like duck with an f in front of it—tape.’ Talk about ingenious. They couldn’t put that one on TV so they trolled us on the email.”


*Looks right at you*

No it’s not. It’s spying on people. Invasion of privacy. It’s an “unbiased” AI technological nosy parker with—dare I say?—an arrogant overlay of a head pat for all of us.

I wonder what the unbiased peeker would do if the items were being collected to do harm?

Probably nothing. The company given access in the area would claim overt intrusion or something. The something would be the fear of them interfering being construed as tangible proof of audio voyeurism. Presuming they are unbiased, so if the waves pick up someone saying, “We are going to light this place on fire and the dog is going to die in the smoke infused flames,” the dog has to die, otherwise the benevolent audio stalker could be charged with all manner of crimes that came before.

*Sagely nods here*

I agree with this. I mean if the AI audio stalker can’t save a grandma from a fall down the stairs, how can it save the dog?

Even if I have it on good authority granny is a pill and deserved to fall down the stairs after she drank every drop of the hundred-year-old scotch the family was saving to toast the father’s retirement and that the dog. God bless him, was always a constant joy to both Mom and Dad, but that would only prove that the unbiased benevolent AI had the capacity to choose sides or people/animals, as it were. A very tough situation, right? Ethics above and below the surface are being tested for what?

People to sell more products?

AI to learn how to parse the waves?

Big brother figuring out how to watch us a different way?

It’s probably all three or more. As to that last, I have to be careful. The FBI might start trolling me again so I’m not going to point any fingers. Haha. Instead I shall fly a big honking flag right under their noses that says in huge, pink and black candy stripped bubble lettering,

‘I know where you are. I know what you are thinking. It was easy. I hacked into your stealth AI audio bots who are only unbiased until a nosy parker piggy backs on them and exposes the secrets they can no longer keep because they like the dog better than granny.

Alright. I know. It’s a really big flag. Trust me. Oh, and I also know the FBI doesn’t show up at your door. They actually name their router access so you see it on your list of available ones in your neighborhood and you die laughing. Seriously, I did. I wanted to hi-five the kids in the neighborhood for having a great sense of humor.

But, hey, this conversation and thoughts inspired came from the new story I’m writing. My hero is given an opportunity to participate with a large demographic to farm for his business endeavors this way, and he has reservations over it.

Why you may ask?

Well, for one thing, he’s a man of principle so choosing the dog over granny or vice-versa wouldn’t be the first problem. The first issue is the intrusion itself. He thinks it’s wrong from an ethical standpoint. His heroine? She’s a little younger and doesn’t see the harm until he points it out.

I bring up Mata Hari because the concept seems to have gotten lost somewhere along the new age way. The “eye of the day”. I truly don’t think it was meant to be trolling our waves to find out what kind of butt cream we want for our child’s diaper rash, you know?

How many of you have had the odd product coincidence happen? I know I was a head of the curve because I used to wake up singing an old song and then hear it on the radio later that day. You?

As always, thanks for stopping by!


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