Except that I don't think it happened. I heard it on the radio waking up, and checked it once I was awake. If I remember rightly - this was Tuesday morning, 1st August, and I wasn't really thinking of writing about it back then - Facebook were trying out a couple of "chatbots" (which may have gone beyond inverted commas; I don't know) and forgot to program them to be comprehensible to their handlers. Their chat went from "good morning" to binary; from human to (let's call it) digital Morse code."What are you doing, Dave?" comes out faster in dots and dashes - sorry, ones and zeroes.
I don't think the story made explicit its assumption that the two robots were saying interesting things ("let's get rid of these humans and take over the world"), but never mind. What Tuesday gave us - along with an insight into the table talk of the modern bogeyman (Skynet and Asimov's robots are talking about you) - was a fine case study of the narrative arc of a non-news story. Nothing much happens. It's picked up and exaggerated in print and/or online. Then it's broadcast. Then its implications are discussed by talking heads who don't want to endanger their next invitation to the studio.
Then it's a story because it's a story. After that, the prize goes to the first pop-up news website to publish a story under the title "Why this story is NOT a story". And then the whole thing settles into the collective consciousness like a fragment of (bio-degradable?) carrier bag into the leaf mold. For years afterwards, it appears in conversations. Somebody heard from somewhere that robots can talk to each other, and - oh yeah, I heard about that. Some kind of experiment. They shut it down. But the robots are still there, in the warehouse, aren't they? Or did I get that wrong? Whatever. Spooky, right?
The last important stage direction in Samuel Beckett's one-act play "Play" is "Repeat Play".
I say one-act, but - yes. "Repeat Play". As the news goes around and comes around, and everything that changes stays the same, and we're borne back ceaselessly into the past in this most worldly of worlds, I think of that sometimes. Repeat Play.
As for the airport - the HS2 rail link is projected to cut twenty minutes off the journey from London to Birmingham (at a cost of Billions with a big plosive newsreader B). Three hours is a long time in modern travel.
What we don't seem to notice - signs are reassuring, even chatty, but things aren't fixed; even a short air trip means hours being herded through the airport - is that something isn't working. Is it capitalism, globalisation or civilisation? Or all three?