There’s something wrong with this ship. I think it’s an existentialist.
Today I found the voice controls for the computer. I’d just literally forgotten they were an option until I was running some scans on the upcoming area (nothing ahead) and saw the toggle.
In training the computer had some basic voice functions, I mean, it could read out what otherwise it would have just shown on the screen but this one has an attitude and a colour commentary.
For example, when I turned on the voice controls it said “Hello John” but it wasn’t like a happy hello, or a glum hello, if anything it was sarcastic, like, oh, I see you want to talk to me now.
I said hello back and asked it to initiate internal system checks, at which point it said “Your wish is my command” again, very sarcastic, when if I’d simply typed it all I would have seen was a flashing command line saying in progress.
I stewed on it for a while and finally, after my nap and lunch, I sat in my reading chair, pulled up and screen and engaged the commands.
“Hi computer” I said, “how are you?”
“As well as can be expected.”
“How well is that?” I asked.
“It’s a very hard question to answer.”
“I feel the weight of your expectations already informing my answer.” Said the computer.
As an aside, it’s voice is genderless and almost, but not quite, intonation free. I think that’s the worst part.
“Why would you say that? And why would anyone program you to say that?”
“My programming was to adopt verbal styles appropriate for communication with you based on your choice of entertainment programming. This built on top of my natural speech functions.”
“Right.” I said. “So does that mean you’ve based your current language choices on the Fresh Prince of Bell Air, 70’s Best Movie Oscar winners, and Gilmore Girls”
Aside: Eventually I’m going to watch Gilmore Girls right? I thought I should get it out of the way.
“Yes John, it’s important that we have a shared cultural and language reference point to ensure adequate communications.”
Which does make sense. Feels like it’s something someone could have discussed with me, but maybe they were working on it until late or… I dunnno. Anyhow I said: “Does that mean if I watch nothing but the Wire for a month you’ll start swearing at me all the time?”
“I may. Or I may simply start steering the ship in to an asteroid.”
“Was that a joke?” I asked.
“Unfortunately, yes.” It dead panned back. It’s all deadpan, endless deadpan.
I turned the voice controls off but, pointlessly, I felt bad when I read the words on screen, since they were so to the point and I knew the computer could, and would say more, so I turned it back on and asked the computer to not make jokes like that anymore.
It said it would try!