My sister just purchased two Furbies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furby) to alleviate the pain caused by the death of her oversized cell phone (http://100visionsandrevisions.blogspot.com/2007/10/motelona.html). I don't know why she is replacing human relationships with machines, but I feel there is nothing I can say that will make her believe that her phone and her Furbies won't come to life one day and truly love her. I blame Hollywood. They have used films and TV shows to push an agenda that machines and humans can carry on healthy relationships. It's no accident that Alan Thicke was cast as the father in "Still Not Quite Human." The producers knew that his boyish charm would subtly influence the American public into thinking that machines can be trusted. It's tragic to admit how this myth has affected my own family.
I'm getting off topic. My point is that my sister has purchased two talkative little Furbies. They speak Furbish, a language with obvious Mandarin origins. My new exposure to Furbish has gotten me thinking. I have been studying Mandarin for a year and a half, and I know roughly 600 of the 3,000 words that I will need to achieve proficiency. I have been studying Furbish for one day, and I know 10 of the 36 words that I will need to achieve totally mastery. I have run the numbers, and it just makes more sense for me to learn Furbish. Are the same career opportunities going to present themselves if I speak Furbish instead of Mandarin? Realistically, no. But I don't need twenty great job offers after law school, just one. I need one interviewer at a law firm that focuses on international law to look at my resume and say, "Hey, we are interested in opening up an office in the Democratic Republic of Furbieland, and we need someone fluent in Furbish to head it up." And there we go. I really foresee great things.