Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Has it started?

See the story at this link: Xerox scanners/photocopiers randomly alter numbers in scanned documents. It sounds a bit unbelievable at first, but the fail mode and the likely reason why the machines fail this way is actually quite believable.

At my place of work we have those machines. So I tested it with some suitably small but still quite legible numbers: and it does replace numbers!

Now typewriters surely never would do such a thing. (Surreptitiously swapping out two typeslugs on a typebar, imagine that for a moment. Though some dial-a-type machine could probably pull off something unexpected.)

Come to think of it, is this an early sign of the singularity? Is Skynet quietly beginning to sabotage?



  1. That does it, I'm starting work on an EMP weapon.

  2. That is bizarre!

    And of course, it's well known that some photocopiers keep scans of all documents fed through them on an internal hard disk for an indefinite period of time. People buying a used photocopier can, in theory, retrieve all sorts of sensitive data this way.

  3. Could be worse. Your gender and family members names could be changed as a result of a scanning error on your birth certificate?

  4. Like the idea of the EMP :-D

    Definitely in the 'strange but true' category. More complex machines get more complex fail modes. (And information machines get information fails...)

    The Brisbane story is actually worryingly believable. We don't need machines to mess things up (though they are more efficient at it ;-)