HUMOR: Morgan-Stanley 3000

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Sun, 04 Jul 1999 22:16:27 -0500

Re: story.html?s=v/nm/19990703/tc/millennium_shopping_2.html

> LONDON (Reuters) - Please step forward into
> the future for a moment ... an android shop assistant is asking
> why you want blue trousers when its database says you prefer
> gray.

(The scene: A futuristic clothing-shop called "Morgan-Stanley Futuristic Clothing". A calendar at the wall says "3000 A.D. " Outside the window, we see a cartoon-like vista obviously stolen from "The Jetsons". A CUSTOMER who looks remarkably like JOHN CLEESE is talking to an ANDROID SHOPKEEPER, who looks like ERIC IDLE wrapped in aluminum foil.)

CUSTOMER:	Hello, I'd like to buy a pair of blue trousers, please.
ANDROID:	Are you sure you wouldn't have the gray, sir?
CUSTOMER:	Gray?  No, I don't want gray.  I want blue.
ANDROID:	Are you *really* sure you wouldn't rather buy a pair of gray
trousers, sir?
CUSTOMER:	Of course I'm sure.  Why do you keep asking?
ANDROID:	Well, sir, our database indicates that you like gray trousers.
CUSTOMER:	Your database is wrong.  Now, will you sell me the blue trousers?
ANDROID:	I'm afraid I can't do that, sir.
CUSTOMER:	Well, why the devil not?
ANDROID:	Because our database says you wouldn't enjoy them, sir.  We are
programmed to give satisfaction, and we could never sell you a product that you wouldn't like. But I could sell you a pair of gray trousers. You like those.
CUSTOMER: I've never worn a blasted pair of gray trousers in my blasted life, you bucket of bolts! I can't imagine why your fool database thinks I would like them!
ANDROID: Well, sir, I confess I don't know how that information got into the database. We do have Internet-connected surveillance cameras everywhere. It could be as simple as an offhand remark made in a public place, or even just a longing glance at some girl clad in gray trousers. But we're sure you like them. Our database is never wrong. CUSTOMER: I hate gray trousers! I think they look like someone vomited on a pair of perfectly good trousers!
ANDROID [interrupting]: Oh, that can't be, sir. Our trousers are self-cleaning. CUSTOMER: I don't care! Gray trousers are the work of the AntiChrist! Every time I see a pair of gray trousers, I want to see them ripped to bits! Now, will you sell me the blue trousers, or will I take my business elsewhere?
ANDROID: No, sir, I'm afraid I won't sell you blue trousers, and neither will anyone else. Your preferences are a clear part of the public record and nobody would dream of selling you anything you rather wouldn't buy.
CUSTOMER:	Then I'll buy a pair of gray trousers, damn your eyes.
ANDROID:	Oh, very good, sir.

[The ANDROID activates a laserlike device which scans the CUSTOMER's every bodily dimension and compares them to the Internet record.] ANDROID: I say, sir, you seem to be gaining weight. Have you considered a program of exercise and exclusively Olestra-based - CUSTOMER: Just sell me the damn trousers before I run amok with a laser pistol. [The ANDROID finishes scanning the CUSTOMER. A moment later, a pair of trousers pops out of the wall, having been downloaded over the Internet.] CUSTOMER: Why, what a fine pair of trousers. Pristine, customized, perfectly fitted, and, it would appear, gray. I suppose they are self-cleaning as well, so as to prevent terrible accidents with a blue marker or perhaps a bucket of paint.
ANDROID:	Of course, sir.  Do you wish to pay for them?
CUSTOMER:	At this point, I would rather kill you and leave the trousers
and your shop blazing behind me, but I suppose I have no real choice in the matter.
ANDROID: Of course not, sir.
[The CUSTOMER slaps his hand over an instant payment auth-o-matic cred-meter.]
CUSTOMER:	There's your bloody money.
ANDROID:	Very good, sir.  Shall I wrap them for you?
CUSTOMER:	I suppose so.
[The android proceeds to rip the trousers to shreds.]
CUSTOMER:	What the hell are you DOING?
ANDROID:	Sir, I distinctly recall you saying that you wanted to see gray
trousers ripped to shreds. I asked if you wished me to rip them for you, and you replied in the affirmative. CUSTOMER: I'm afraid I'm going to have to zap you now. [The CUSTOMER takes out a laser pistol and zaps the ANDROID.] ANDROID [dying]: I'! CUSTOMER: Good luck, he thinks he's a toaster oven. [ANDROID dies.]
CUSTOMER: What a ghastly future.
           Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Running on BeOS           Typing in Dvorak          Programming with Patterns
Voting for Libertarians   Heading for Singularity   There Is A Better Way