Although MoPhos propagate similarly to coral, spraying out their material in a process called synchronization and hoping their male counterpart will, seahorse-like, take in and store their genetic data, this mating ritual is very infrequent. This is not surprising since its mate, the PC, is also poor at its own reproductive backup.
The MoPho is constantly seeking out new territories to colonize. Its most common method of migration is by taxi, in which thousands of MoPhos are found each year making a break from their human companions. In a tragedy equalling the pets-for-Christmas problem, less than half are ever reclaimed. This problem is compounded not only for the owner, who without any contact or calendar details becomes a social outcast, but for the sensitive corporate data the MoPho often contains. The cost to business each year of managing MoPhos is estimated to top $1 billion by 2009.
The growing risk of uncontrolled MoPho migration has caused some companies to restrict the use of MoPhos for fear of vulnerable data escaping, either mistakenly or maliciously. Although this is a legitimate concern, the captivation of a species on the grounds it may stray is a short-sighted and ultimately unsuccessful argument. It's the same claim used against USB memory keys five years ago, laptops 15 years ago and PC diskettes 25 years ago. I'm certain some Egyptians campaigned against the use of papyrus because it could be more easily concealed than traditional stone tablets.
MoPhos are increasingly at risk from viruses, including recent reports of a species crossover virus, sexually transmitted to the MoPho when it synchronizes with a PC. However its most insidious threat are not viruses but parasites - lawyers launching patent lawsuits on behalf of companies that produce nothing but one filed patent and a string of litigation. These parasites could wipe out a whole species of MoPho, a threat BlackBerry users have only recently been spared. Fortunately they act very slowly and there is a very effective cure that's been used to eradicate them. Simply apply vast amounts of cash and these parasites will settle.
Although it is your companion, your MoPho can turn against you. If you received MoPho from your company as a "productivity aid", you've just agreed to be available for work every hour of every day. It's your personal 24x7 service upgrade. Not only are you expected to answer it immediately in the office, you must also respond on weekends, at nights and on holidays. Given they can be tracked by their cells, your MoPho can also be used to prove that rather than ailing on your sickbed at home, you were actually at the racetrack.
As the MoPho develops and gains capabilities, its impact on society will increase. Having a MoPho has already meant I've cut back from four essential items carried everywhere - wallet, keys, phone and diary - to three. Now I'm trying to teach my MoPho to pay for groceries through an Internet debit (a skill I call MoPhoFood) and to start my car with a Bluetooth signal (MoPhoGo). Then I'll only need to carry a single device which, for me, would be heaven.
Until I lose it, resulting in complete social isolation. That would be hell.
Bruce Kirkham is a veteran IT satirist and professional speaker specializing in leading edge technologies and scepticism, who views the IT industry not so much "dot com" as "dot comedy"
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