2081 – The To-do List

“Replay, to-do list, current.”

“Would you like me to replay the to-do list in order of priority?”

“Yes.”

“You have two priority 1 tasks. The first is to  visit your Mother. The second is to visit your Grandmother. Then there are three priority-…”

“Cancel and return to cupboard.”

“As you wish.”

I know most people love their AI’s but I’ve never  been one of them. There’s just something about those smarmy, computerized voices that makes my teeth ache. I mean I know AI’s are meant to simulate real people but why do the manufacturers have to make them sound so… cheerful. And polite.

When I bought my first AI I tried swearing at it. I  even slapped it around a bit and all it said was, “Please do not hit me. You will injure yourself.”

The fact that the damned thing was right just made  me even angrier. I know it’s stupid to get angry with a machine but the disconnect between how it looks and how it behaves annoys the shit out of me. A pile of e-plas and electronics just shouldn’t look like the sexiest man alive. It really shouldn’t.

I tried a female AI for a short while. I dressed  her/it up in my ugliest ‘fat’clothes but the damned thing made them look good. It had to go. I mean, for real!  I’m not crazy vain but what sane woman wants to be woken each day by a vision of perfection when she knows she’s got bed hair and sleep lines?

So now I’ve got a male AI again but it’s one of the  older models, not one of those new walking, talking dildos that my Mum has. Her AI really gives me the creeps, especially when she calls it ‘Elvis’.

I guess I’m more like my Nana that way. We both think machines should look and act like machines.

Mum says Nan is just too old-fashioned for her own good but that’s not completely true. Nan isn’t anti-tech, she just prefers ‘bots that look like boxes on castors. Her appartment is full of them. Some vacuum the floors, some crawl all over her shelves dusting the knick-knacks and she even has one that lives in her cooler, sniffing out off food and composting it in this weird expandable tummy.

Mum is forever at Nan to get the cooler replaced  with a new model that does all the food disposal  automatically but Nan just smiles and keeps her antiques anyway. And they are antiques in their way. How she keeps them going I’ll never know. I think she must have a network of other oldies who still know how to repair things.

The trouble is that Nan and her oldies are getting old too.  What is going to happen when they get too old to fix stuff?

I hate to say it but Mum is right about this. We  have to get Nan modernised a bit, starting with the cooler. Off food is no joke, especially now that Nan’s sense of smell is not what it was. If her sniffer ever malfunctions the food in her cooler could kill her.

That’s why I have to go over to Nan’s place. Today.  She doesn’t know it yet but in a few hours she’s going to be getting a brand new cooler and I have to be there to sweet talk her into letting the delivery ‘bots in through the door.

It’s not going to be easy but I have a plan, of  sorts. I found this place that sells reconditioned box coolers. They’re the kind that the old vendor ‘bots used to carry around full of ice-cream in the summer. They don’t take up a lot of space and I’m hoping Nan will agree to retiring her sniffer to the box cooler. Then, instead of putting her food scraps down the composting shute she can feed them to the
sniffer. Sort of like a pet.

After old Rufus died Nan swore she wouldn’t get another cat but I know she misses having something to look after so maybe, just maybe the sniffer can take Rufus’ place. Sort of.

Just thinking about turning a ‘bot into a pet makes me squirm a bit but sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the people you love. And I do love my Nan.

Today is not going to be a good day though.

“AI?”

“How may I help you?”

“Update to-do list.”

“I am ready. Please go ahead.”

“Tag Nan, visit equals done. Reschedule Mum, visit for next week.”

“Oh I am so pleased you will be visiting your Grandmother today and I will reschedule the reminder to visit your Mother for Monday, July the 16th, 2081.

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About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

26 responses to “2081 – The To-do List

  • Stephanie Allen Crist

    Somethings never change even while everything else does. 🙂

    Like

  • johnlmalone

    a good story: short, compact and dealing with real issues —eg,the difficulty many older people — not all — have with new technologies.

    Robin Klein who is now an older person herself afflected with Alzheimers wrote a delightful childrens story on this topic. If I track it down, I’ll get back to you

    Like

  • Ilil Arbel

    I want an AI!!!!!!!! NOW!!!! And I want a bot that cleans the apartment! And the little guys that dust!!!!!! YES!!!!!!

    Like

    • acflory

      -giggles- Me too! But I want ones that /work/… without talking to me all the time 😀

      Every time I ring up a utilities company and have to deal with one of their moronic pseudo AI’s I want to break things. Preferably theirs.

      Like

      • Ilil Arbel

        Ah, but the current bots are different… your AIs are polite, and if I understand correctly, quite handsome. Did you ever read Asimov’s short story about the woman who fell in love with the attractive male robot who worked for her? He was so perfect. I want my AI to look elegant, cultured, sophisticated… sort of like a movie star from the fifties. I assume in 2081 I’ll be able to customize him, right?

        Like

        • acflory

          lmao! I’m sure customization will be allowed…for a price 😉

          Personally I’m going to wait until I can have a bot that looks, and at least talks, like Tom Hiddleston of Loki fame! I’m definitely a sucker for that devilish glint in the eye.

          Like

  • geooorge

    I’m waiting for the AI that will respond with “what the… you’ve got to be kidding me. Again?”

    About the robomop, if it can carry a person i’m up for it.

    Like

    • acflory

      lmao – yes! An AI with attitude 😀 Sadly robomop is too small to carry anything. Probably just as well though because it works a bit like a blind man’s white cane – it bumps first then changes direction 😉

      Like

  • Candy Korman

    Great story!!!
    (You are definitely in writer boot camp now.)

    Like

  • lorddavidprosser

    Fantastic writing Andrea. I hope your AI’s all follow Asimov’s 3 laws of robotics.

    Like

  • metan

    I LOVE this! The thought of ‘Elvis’ is just wrong, but I would love a pet sniffer 😀

    Like

    • acflory

      THANK YOU!!!!!!! Yes, I think the sniffer is a bit of wish fulfillment on my part as well.

      Would you believe I was going to do a post about this new ‘toy’ I bought called a robomop? I even took a video of it [much too dark and terrible quality]. And then this story just popped into my head because I have a love/hate relationship with gadgets 😀

      Like

      • metan

        I love gadgets. Loooove them. I have managed to avoid an ipad though. Not that I don’t want one, but I already have 2 ipods, a touch, and a nano touch (but that one is just for work, ok 😉 ) so I can’t really justify it. Actually the boys both negotiated for PS Vitas for their birthdays earlier in the year, they are fantastic, so I actually want one of them now. No, I will never grow up…..

        I have no problem with robot pets, I already talk to all my gadgets. No, they don’t talk back. Whaddya think I am, crazy?! 😉

        Like

        • acflory

          -giggles- People is glass houses shouldn’t throw stones so… as the woman who calls her car Jim I would never call you crazy, even if your gadgets did talk back :p

          Actually I’m convinced that Jim loves me and bends over backwards to keep me safe and with my wallet intact. I swear that car will keep going longer than I will!

          My cupboards are full of housekeeping type gadgets, half of which were a complete waste of time and money. I hate housework hence the gadgets. And hence my undying hatred of the ones that don’t work!

          Like

          • metan

            I hate housework so much I can’t even bring myself to spend money on gadgets to make it easier! That money would be better spent on something that beeps 😉 I’m glad I have a small house, less housework!

            Like

          • acflory

            What? You’d turn your nose up at a nice little bot that did all the cleaning just because it didn’t beep?

            Actually I just realised that my washing machine beeps… and my dishwasher sings at me to let me know it’s finished. Now those I LOVE.

            Like

          • metan

            I would rather spend my money on something more entertaining! 😀
            Actually my house is so small I would probably find myself with a multitude of cleaning gadgets and nowhere to put them.
            I can see it now…I would end up with a reputation for being a cleaning freak because there are these little machines running around my house cleaning all the time. In reality it is because I have no cupboard space to store them! 🙂

            Like

          • acflory

            lmao – but think how funny it would be to see visitors high-stepping over and around all your little bots! Insurance might be a problem though…

            Like

      • metan

        Hang on…. a robomop? If that actually does floors on its own I want one too!

        Like

        • acflory

          It doesn’t vacuum and it’s ONLY for hard floors. I’ve tried those robovacs and they are some of the gadgets I hate.

          This robomop does seem to work though – it picks up dust and pet hair on these electrostatic disposable cloth things. And it is a bog simple idea. I’m loving it so far. Let me play with it a bit longer and I’ll let you know whether it’s worth buying. 😀

          Like

          • metan

            Please include a reference to the attitude of the pets to it in your review. the Jackal attempts to maul the broom while you are sweeping, so if it is too delicious it won’t last long here!

            Like

          • acflory

            LMAO! So far the dog just runs away. As does one of the cats. Golly however stalks it and pounces so hard he sometimes knocked the rolling ball out of its ‘cage’!

            I suspect The Jackal might eat it :/

            Like

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