Cellphones are impolite, whiny little bitches lurking in your pocket, lying in wait to interrupt you no matter what you're doing. That's why researchers at Intel Labs Seattle are trying to teach them some manners, creating software that turns the dumbass machines into politenessPhones that can avoid interrupting your real-world conversations with their obnoxious ring tones and insistent vibrations.
The phones get their politeness from actually listening to what you're saying. While this sounds like some sinister government eavesdropping scheme, the researchers are teaching the phones to recognize conversations while still being so dumb that they can't understand any of the words you say. Just like dogs, the phones will be able to determine the situation and your mood at any given moment. Then they'll be able to tell if a phone call would be intrusive or not.
The researchers plan to present the tech at a conference later this month. They're saying it'll be "fairly straightforward" to place this dumb eavesdropping software into a cellphone, finally injecting a healthy dose of situational awareness into those annoying little devices. It's about time. What remains to be seen is the public's willingness to carry around a device that's been trained to eavesdrop on their every conversation. [Technology Review]