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Now the walls really do have ears, AI helpers can also hinder

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Thanks to today's high-performance telephones, the Japanese expression "konsen," meaning "crossed lines," has practically become obsolete.

But back in the days of analog telephones, situations arising from crossed lines were a frequent theme of novels. In "Saisho no Konsen" (The first crossed lines), a short story by Yasutaka Tsutsui, a phone call gets connected to the past.

The caller tells the recipient, "You sound like someone from the Meiji Era."

The recipient retorts, "How dare you, Sir. Are you implying that His Majesty the Emperor no longer reigns?"

The befuddled Meiji Era (1868-1912) man cannot even put his head around........

© The Asahi Shimbun