In the past, when science fiction writers imagined how machines would be our faithful servants, they mostly envisioned robots performing useful tasks like making breakfast and doing laundry. They had no idea that in the post-millennial age, the finest technological minds would be working tirelessly to provide multiple solutions to a single issue of immeasurable import: How can insentient devices protect us from our embarrassing propensity to drunk dial/email/text?
Gmail, having already introduced Mail Goggles—its "breathalyzer" math test that checks if you're drunk and therefore about to write something that in the cold light of day will be regarded with the purest regret—is now offering an "undo send" application, which gives you five seconds to pull back a message. Hardly long enough to sober up and realize that you'll have to move to a city where no one knows you, but still.
Apple, meanwhile, is cashing in on people's fear of their intoxicated brain's lamentable decisions with the Bad Decision Blocker, an iPhone application that blocks the numbers of people in your address book for a set amount of time. There's also the "iBreathe," a breath-test device that attaches to an iPhone or iPod and gives a blood-alcohol content reading. "People listen to their iPods," says the manufacturer, "more than they listen to their parents or friends who might be trying to give them good advice." What a lovely way to epitomize our civilization's dark heart.