I made a dinner reservation for six for some colleagues and myself, and then sent an email to one of my colleagues, who sent out an announcement giving the name and address of the restaurant. So far, so good.
A few minutes later this colleague sent out a second announcement to the group. He explained that I had sent him a second email to tell him that I had meant the restaurant’s other address.
Which was odd for two reasons. For one, the restaurant has no other address. For another, I had never sent him a second email.
After several confused emails back and forth with screen-shot attachments, I figured out that his Outlook program was the culprit. The word “reservation” in my email to him had triggered a bot which took it upon itself to create a calendar invite, including name and address for the restaurant.
The email also said “Accepted on 1/2/29”, which means it thought it was being sent from the future.
Other than that telling detail, the email was worded in such a way that my colleague thought I had generated it. Oh, and also, Outlook got the address of the restaurant wrong. Much hilarity ensued.
I did eventually figure out from a Web search that the wrong address was a long ago former location for this restaurant. The few sites on-line that even still know about that old location (like Yelp) list it as NOW CLOSED.
I wonder how many false automatic notifications are sent out every day by Outlook. And how many people who receive those emails think they were sent by a real person, and act on them accordingly?
At what point does Office become “The Office”?
Maybe this is all a secret plot by Skynet to prepare us for judgement day. After all, that email did come from 2029…