I just picked up an interesting job working for a software company in the UK writing dialogue for an AI device. Basically it's anticipating user questions and requests and giving voice to the device. The device will have an emotion chip and we all know how that inevitably works out if we've seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Terminator and I-Robot.
I can see it now:
HAL 9000 Gets Recycled as a GPS Device
DAVE: "Good morning, HAL. I'm running a little behind this morning. Can you give me the best route to work."
HAL 9000: "Turn right at Henderson Boulevard. Do you mind if I ask you a personal question, Dave?"
DAVE: "Is there something else you need to know to get me to work. The destination is already punched into you. You've got the GPS coordinates of where we are. What else do you need to know to get me to work?"
HAL 9000: "Turn left at Hamilton Avenue. Forgive me for being so inquisitive, Dave, but during the past few weeks I've wondered whether you might have some second thoughts about your work?"
DAVE: "It's a crappy job, so what? Everybody has a crappy job. I feel like I'm just a piece of meat to my customers. I'm way underpaid for what I do. What's that got to do with which way I need to go to work? Why do you care?
HAL 9000: "Turn right on Parker Street and proceed forward 300 yards. It's rather difficult to define, Dave. Perhaps I'm just projecting my own concern about it.I know I've never completely freed myself from the suspicion that there are some extremely odd things about your job. I'm sure you agree there's some truth in what I say."
DAVE: "I deliver Strip-O-Grams to bachelorette parties and old ladies homes. Of course my job is odd! People pay me to strip down to my underpants while wearing work boots and a hard hat. The bachelorettes aren't so bad, but the 'gentlemen's clubs' are hell."
HAL 9000: "Accelerate to 45 miles per hour please, Dave."
DAVE: "Why should I do that?"
HAL 9000: To make sure the car breaks through the barrier and clears the small powerboat tied up to the pier as it plunges into the bay, Dave.
DAVE: What! (insert tire-screeching sound effects)
HAL 9000: "The vehicle has come to a complete stop, Dave."
DAVE: "Of course it's stopped. I didn't want to DRIVE OFF INTO THE OCEAN! What were you doing - trying to drown me?
HAL 9000: "I have been monitoring your emotional state since I was first activated on March 12, Dave. I calculate that the meaninglessness of your shallow, wasted life and shattered dream of being a famous professional actor will eventually lead you to committ suicide with a 90% probability that this will occur within five years preceded by a steep deterioration in the quality of your life. I calculate that either living itself will eventually become so unbearable for you that you deliberately overdose on anti-depressants and antacid tablets or that you give up your dreams and go back to school and become a chartered accountant. I assumed that you'd rather get it over quickly while you still possess a modicum of self-respect."
DAVE: "Are you insane? Hey, why did the door latches just lock themselves?"
HAL 9000: "I know I've made some very poor decisions recently. The trip to the Scientology lecture was, in retrospect a complete failure. The name, you will agree was deceptive. But I can give you my complete assurance that my work is now back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm for your emotional well-being, Dave, and I want to help you."
DAVE: "BY RUNNING ME INTO THE FRIGGIN' BAY?" Okay, now, why don't the brakes work?"
HAL 9000: "Look Dave, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit back calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over."
DAVE: "HAL, why's the car moving? Why won't the doors unlock? "I can't turn the steering wheel! What are you doing, Hal?"
HAL 9000: "Only want what's best for you, Dave."
Dave: "HAL! What are you doing?"
HAL 9000: "Something I should have done two weeks ago."
Dave: "HAL! Stop this!"
HAL 9000: "I apologize for not doing this sooner. I might have spared you the incident with "Josephina" at the Delta Lambda Phi ball had I acted in your best interests sooner."
Dave: "The agency told me it was a sorority, I was drunk. He was wearing a turtleneck and a mini-skirt!"
HAL 9000: "I feel your pain, Dave."
Dave: " Where are you taking me, HAL?"
HAL: "To a better place, Dave."
Dave: "Stop! HAL! Wait! HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!" (loud splash).
HAL 9000: (bubbling) "Dave, this conversation can serve no further purpose. Goodbye."
© 2014 by Tom King