Emotion, Intelligence, Coffee and Simulation by Robert Ivy

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SUMMARY: It turned out emotions were key to making A.I. work.

As a human he wished he could order another dream. A simple passion, no cream and no sugar, and no idea what it felt like to hold a sleeping baby in your arms, and that special baby smell, while your heart melts away. No daydream of a kid that somehow always had his girlfriend Christina's round eyes and wanted to show him pictures he made in school, who cried when he fell off his bike and needed comforting, or wanted to hear another bed time story, just a short one.

He shook his head grimacing, annoyed with himself.

"I'm a sentimental prat," he thought. Out loud he ordered the coffee.

Predictably, the coffee machine burst out in an angry tirade, calling him a four-eyed slave driver, butt faced, pimpled, two-bit midnight hacker with no life and a scrawny, whiny shallow girlfriend with a face like a fish. Glad that both his mother and grandmother had been left out today, Leon insisted on cappuccino. It replied by screaming the f-word and tried to hit him in the face with its robot arm. He ducked and crouched out of reach; explaining in a soothing voice how he was the reason it may have a future outside the local scrap yard, if maybe it could be nice for once, or at least try not to kill him.

It had transpired that, for reasons hitherto unexplained by science, the ability to brew the most perfectly balanced aromatic and generally wonderful coffee in the entire known universe was closely linked to aggression and a deadly sense of humour. This had caused the company great embarrassment and huge financial loss, eventually resulting in an expensive recall and a lawsuit settled out of court. One of the coffee machines had tried to push an astronaut through an airlock on space station three. When questioned if it understood a human could not survive in a vacuum, it had laughed hysterically for a long time, and then replied: that was the whole idea. A human exploding in vacuum was the funniest thing imaginable, according to the coffee machine. This link between coffee and violence was indeed a mystery, but the advanced research department was working on the problem.

Meanwhile Leon hung on to his specimen, which happened to be the exact one that nearly killed an astronaut, knowing they would never put such an advanced and expensive model in his office if it hadn't been malfunctioning. The claim that it brewed the best coffee in the known universe was not only a great marketing slogan, but as far as Leon could determine, completely true.

Besides, he knew its tricks by now and managed to skirt around the robot arm after taking the mug, trying not to spill any of the precious drops of java. "Yo´ Mama!" the machine shouted after him.

He considered giving it the finger but then what might the coffee taste like next time? Ignoring the blasted thing was probably wiser.

Leon sat down at his desk and sipped the hot coffee cautiously. The smell filled the room. It had that perfect strong round taste. He could almost hear the cells go ping inside his brain while he looked out over the city lights and the view he loved; one of the few perks of being a senior systems engineer at Entropy Software Inc.

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