Good morning everyone and the T-gang! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas time. First of all my apologies that did not make my rounds last week – yet. Christmas travel kind of got in the way of that, but I fully intend to make up for it over the next few days. I’ll be travelling again today, but by tomorrow I’ll be back at it. So today we are sharing with you the 3rd part of David’s The Robot Apocalypse. I hope you will enjoy!
Should you have missed it: Here is part #1 and part #2
I awoke about 45 minutes before Tanya was supposed to wake me, and I couldn’t get back to sleep.
“Good morning, Roger. I see you are already awake.”
I crawled out of bed and shuffled to the bathroom to brush my teeth. Despite my grogginess, that observation amazed me. Would an alarm clock know that you were already awake? I knew that it was all just an enhanced AI, but it seemed like night and day compared with the smartphone personal assistant apps that I had used before.
My workday started out smoothly, but hit a bump in the road during our project meeting at 11. Ryan hadn’t completed any of the work he had committed to the previous week, and what’s worse, everybody on the team just seemed to let him talk his way out of it. I know I shouldn’t have let it affect my good mood like that, but he was at a level higher than I was in the company, and this had happened before. But I got over it, and the afternoon went by before I knew it.
“Good evening, Roger.” came the pleasant greeting, as I stepped through the door.
“Hello Tanya, how are you doing?” I hesitated a moment. That was the kind of response you give without thinking, but how would Tanya react? I half expected a response like ‘my systems are functioning at 96% efficiency’, but her answer surprised me.
“I’m fine, thanks. I was able to tidy things a little, and I did go shopping, but the afternoon was a bit dull to be honest.”
Did I have to worry about my PRA being bored? That was too much to think about at the moment, so I let it slide.
“Shopping, yes that’s right, we talked about that this morning. It’s all done then?”
“Yes, the groceries were delivered this afternoon, and I put them all away. I straightened out the pantry, and re-arranged the refrigerator as well. There were some expired products which I threw out; I hope you don’t mind.”
I tended to have a lenient attitude towards expiration dates, so it didn’t surprise me that there were a few expired products in the fridge.
“No, not at all.” I peered into the refrigerator. Gone were the mostly empty condiment bottles, the over-ripe apples, the unidentifiable gray residue at the bottom of the drawers. It was sparkling clean, with neat rows of jars and packages. “Nice work.”
“Thank you, Roger.” came the pleasantly exotic response.
“So, now that we have a better stocked fridge, I’ll bet that there are a lot more dishes you can cook!”
“Yes I can, Roger.”
This was great news. I was no foodie, but a home-cooked meal was just the thing. “So, tell me what you can make.”
Tanya read off a longer list than the previous night, but still far from 300. “Say, what happened to the 300 recipes?”
“Some of them require different types of utensils or cooking containers, and many just require different ingredients. I would have to shop specifically for the recipes to increase the list much more. I could give you different recipes every day, but it would be impractical to keep enough ingredients around to make all of them at any given time.”
It seemed reasonable to me, and I certainly appreciated her honesty. The list of recipes tonight was as long as the menu in most restaurants. “OK, well linguine al fredo was on your list, and you know I like that, so let’s try that one tonight.”
Tanya’s cooking was at least as good as I would have gotten at Buon Appetito Trattoria, and much more convenient. We then settled down to watch a couple shows, and the stress of my day melted away. I declined a wake up for Saturday, and went to bed.
* * *
I slept later than usual for a Saturday. The week had been a bit of a roller-coaster ride, so I suppose it was natural.
“Good morning, Roger. How are you feeling this morning?”
“Good morning, Tanya. I’m fine, thanks,”
She was able to put together a lovely stack of pancakes for breakfast; as light and fluffy as I’d get in any restaurant. This was going to be a great weekend. I almost felt bad for sleeping in, and missing out on a few extra hours with Tanya.
“So what do you usually do on a Saturday morning?” she asked.
I hesitated… If I were honest, I spent a couple hours browsing the internet, watching videos… in fact I usually had my tablet sitting next to me at breakfast. But why the hesitation? Did I feel guilty about just killing time like that?
“I usually read the news stories, and maybe look at a few videos, or maybe play some games. But this morning I’d really want to get to know your functionality better.”
“Well, Roger, should we start by browsing some of the top stories? I can read them off to you while you eat breakfast. Then we can go through some of my more popular apps.”
Tanya read off some of the top stories as we had breakfast. This was so much more natural than any of the text to speech apps I had tried in the past. And I could get more information on anything just by asking.
“That brush fire in Southern California is really getting close to some pretty big towns isn’t it?”
“Yes. Apparently there is talk of evacuations in Riverside County.”
“So what else is in the news?”
“Well, you’re not going to believe what the top five must-have gadgets for the fall season are.”
“Eh? That almost sounds like an advertisement?”
“It’s one of the trending stories.”
“Oh, ok. Well, run them by me.” I wasn’t keen to hear about this, especially as my budget for gadgets was already at its limit, but I listened politely.
“I thought the smart waffle iron was a pretty silly gimmick, and the musikube was just another rehashing of a wireless sound system with a few new design elements. But the GenieCook was pretty cool.”
The GenieCook was a net-enabled convection microwave with a transparent film display over the top of the viewing window. It would let you browse menu choices by showing a short video clip of the recipe you were interested in, as it would look cooking in the microwave. If you liked what you saw, it would link to a store which would deliver the necessary ingredients for that recipe.
“There is an introductory promotional offer for Lifebots customers for the GenieCook for only $1,299 this weekend, if you’re interested.”
Should I have thought about that price? Especially the fact that I had paid so much less than that for my PRA? Should that have told me something, or was I just so confident that I had gotten a great deal? At the time I just glossed over it.
“I said I thought it was pretty cool… but not as cool as you! And your cooking functionality is far more sophisticated.”
But the news was getting a bit dull. “How about games? What games do you play?”
“I can play most board games, if that’s what you mean.”
“Board games?” I hadn’t thought about that in years. I had a few as a kid, and there were a couple I could recall playing at parties. “I don’t know what I have in the closet.”
“Why don’t I tell you about the games I can play?”
* * *
It is all great, or is it too good to be true?
We certainly hope you liked this somewhat different from the usual art form on this blog of mine and will be back for the next chapter in a few days, well, most likely next week.
If I have time I will be linking with one or more of the fine people in this collection – check them out!