This APC, For One, Welcomes…

Thursday 2 December 2010, 2:08 pm   ////  

APC: Thanks. It's a pleasure to serve you.

I was startled to discover these two things at the post office today, the immediate implications of this message:

  1. The US Postal Service has developed a kiosk/robot capable of experiencing pleasure.
  2. Said robot is stimulated pleasurably by selling me a stamp.

I wanted to somehow let the robot know that I also appreciated the necessary service it performed. I thought about getting one of these Priority Mail stickers, writing on it “It was a pleasure, also, to be served by you, robot!,” and then slapping it on the side of the Automatic Postal Center. But the robot wouldn’t be able to read that message, would it? Maybe I could hold up a note with a similar message to the camera that is used to surveil patrons of the APC. But then I’d have to wait in line again, and I doubt the robot is capable of handwritten character recognition – it wouldn’t have asked me to type in the zip code if it was.

I can only hope that this faithful servant is among the many robot readers of my blog.

Also, I feed certain there must be some applications outside of the mail system for pleasure-experiencing robots, although none come to mind right away. Any ideas?

(Obligatory self-reference: An Automated Postal Center appears in my 2005 interactive fiction Book and Volume.)

5 Comments »

  1. “Listen,” said Ford, who was still engrossed in the sales brochure, “they make a big thing of the ship’s cybernetics. A new generation of Sirius Cybernetics Corporation robots and computers, with the new GPP feature.”

    “GPP feature?” said Arthur. “What’s that?”

    “Oh, it says Genuine People Personalities.”

    “Oh,” said Arthur, “sounds ghastly.”

    A voice behind them said, “It is.” The voice was low and hopeless and accompanied by a slight clanking sound. They span round and saw an abject steel man standing hunched in the doorway.

    “What?” they said.

    “Ghastly,” continued Marvin, “it all is. Absolutely ghastly. Just don’t even talk about it. Look at this door,” he said, stepping through it. The irony circuits cut into his voice modulator as he mimicked the style of the sales brochure. “All the doors in this spaceship have a cheerful and sunny disposition. It is their pleasure to open for you, and their satisfaction to close again with the knowledge of a job well done.”

    As the door closed behind them it became apparent that it did indeed have a satisfied sigh-like quality to it. “Hummmmmmmyummmmmmm ah!” it said.

    Comment by Victoria Welby — 2010-12-02 @ 8:24 pm
  2. That is exactly what I wanted to post. :)

    Comment by Victor Gijsbers — 2010-12-03 @ 2:38 am
  3. Dear Mr. Montfort,

    Do not fret. Thanks to numerous linkages between our internal USPS networks and the greater Internet, your post has been brought to my attention. I want to assure you that my pleasure in serving you, and my appreciation of your gratitude, are indeed genuine.

    Looking forward to your next visit…

    Your Friend,

    USPSBOT12358

    Comment by USPSBOT12358 — 2010-12-05 @ 1:12 pm
  4. [...] have the feeling that someone must have put in a good word for me. Comments [...]

  5. Here is a list of where Riddle & Bind can be purchased from a robot – so far, Spineless Books has invaded three continents:

    http://www.ondemandbooks.com/our_ebm_locations.htm.

    Comment by Spineless Books — 2010-12-06 @ 3:09 pm

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