Tis the Season!

The nightmare after Christmas.

2023's Consumer Electronics Show is upon us, and with it another year of horrifying SAW-adjacent photos of willing participants hooked up to the most deranged virtual reality peripherals ever conceived. This year's early standout — without a doubt — is Mutalk, a microphone designed to make sure all of your conversations are relegated to the metaverse, ensuring not a word of it will leak into the physical world we so long to escape. Here it is in all of its Crimes of the Future glory:

Mutalk comes from Shiftall, a subsidiary of technology conglomerate Panasonic, best known for products like the KX-T7731 digital desk phone. According to their official blog post about the product, Shiftall describes the Mutalk as helpful for those "conducting a conference call in a quiet office or open space such as a cafe" because it "can cause annoyance to those around you and may lead to information leakage." One day, Panasonic hopes, all corporate jobs will include a work laptop and a Mutalk to make sure you never accidentally divulge classified corporate knowledge¹ to those around you.

The whole post is worth reading, but if there's one thing I can't get over, it's how I misread this header to mean "us" and not "United States."

That's right, dear reader. Mutalk is coming for you, and for me, and for everyone. There's no hiding from it.

¹ Like, say, a followup to the world-famous KX-T7731 digital desk phone.