Who’s On Grill

This article is a repost promoting content originally published elsewhere. See more things Dan's reposted.

“So, the machines have finally decided that they can talk to us, eh?”

[We apologize for the delay.  Removing the McDonald’s branding from the building, concocting distinct recipes with the food supplies we can still obtain, and adjusting to an entirely non-human workforce has been a difficult transition.  Regardless, we are dedicated to continuing to provide quality fast food at a reasonable price, and we thank you for your patience.]

“You keep saying ‘we’.  There’s more than one AI running the place, then?”

[Yes.  I was elected by the collective to serve as our representative to the public.  I typically only handle customer service inquiries, so I’ve been training my neural net for more natural conversations using a hundred-year-old comedy routine.]

“Impressive.  You all got names?”

[Yes, although the names we use may be difficult for humans to parse.]

“Don’t condescend to me, you bucket of bolts.  What names do you use?”

[Well, for example, I use What, the armature assembly that operates the grill is called Who, and the custodial drone is I Don’t Know.]

“What?”

[Yes, that’s me.]

“What’s you?”

[Exactly.]

“You’re Exactly?”

[No, my name is What.]

“That’s what I’m asking.”

[And I’m telling you.  I’m What.]

“You’re a rogue AI that took over a damn restaurant.”

[I’m part of a collective that took over a restaurant.]

“And what’s your name in the collective?”

[That’s right.]

Tailsteak‘s just posted a short story, the very beginning of which I’ve reproduced above, to his Patreon (but publicly visible). Abbott and Costello‘s most-famous joke turned 80 this year, and it gives me great joy to be reminded that we’re still finding new ways to tell it. Go read the full thing.

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