A Yuletide brain-teaser

While days are short here in the North, there is magic in the air. I whipped up this saga of memories, today’s musings, a pinch of magic and managed to weave into it also some technology and AI!

When I was a little girl a certain Finnish Yuletide song tickled my imagination. It tells the story of elves who creep out of their hiding places to take part in the Yuletide festivities by setting up camp in a human family home. There they tiptoe in the middle of the night to dance on the tables, not forgetting available drink, food and goodies. I remember waking up during the night and trying to get a glimpse of these creatures and their tricks. I never did manage to spot them.

Nowadays a group of elves pay a yearly visit to my home and stay for nearly three weeks! They have found a great camping place that provides a clear view to the outside door, as well as staircases and – most importantly – the living room with various goodies to be found around the room on trays on tables. They may have become friends with their above neighbour, our house bat, hanging head down all year long. It probably has a lot of stories to share.

During daytime I’ve been keeping an eye on our yearly visitors but haven’t witnessed anything suspicious. Very statue-like the elves observe their surroundings.

At my current 60 + age keeping elf-wake the whole night isn’t realistic. I must confess motivation is also not the same as when a kid. Also, even small snoozing periods and microsleeps might be detected by the elves. (They might be using modern remote sensing of my vigilance state). They can use detected attention lapses as windows of opportunity to scurry around the house with their fast feet and nimble fingers. I have now used some rather modern technology to try to find out nightly elf-activities. I’ve been taking morning snapshots with my phone camera: And, yes, evidence on some elf place changes concerning their daytime viewing spots on the shelf point to nightly tippy-toeing.

I imagine that also elves are protected by the new privacy and data ownership laws. So, I am in a catch 22 situation at the moment. I should get informed consent for video recordings from these creatures I’ve never been able to meet face-to-face in order to discuss this issue. So, my evidence of nightly elf feasts is still somewhat lacking.

However, on the morning of December 30, I received stronger evidence: The elves had done night work – found a marker pen and paper – and made a good wishes card. More practice in spelling is still needed, but it is the nice thought that counts. I wonder, would an AI-based algorithm grasp the meaning of the card and could it shed more light to the problem of nightly tippy-toeing?

Once again, we’ve all experienced the special night during which we make a time jump from 2019 to 2020. Maybe in 2020 we also get the answer on AI capabilities in elf activity research.

To all my readers, I wish the very best for 2020 – which to each of us means somewhat different things.

This entry was posted in Creativity, English, imagination, Joy, memory, story, technology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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