The story from @mrmoth has a bit of a Black Mirror feels to it, something which starts out a bit light-hearted but then starts to swerve rapidly towards Sinister Town, Population: A Terrifying Robot.
STORY NUMBER: 59
PROMPT PROVIDER: @tambourine
AUTHOR: @ mrmoth
I want to tell you something that happened last week. The robot – I’ve named him Qwerty because, well, as you know I’m a bit of a dick – was puttering around downstairs as I worked. He’s been around for a couple of weeks now and was mostly a lot of fun. He knows my jokes, the way I think, even. He managed to catch my inflections in a way no one has since you. He knows, which is amazing, when to make tea. He knows to leave me alone when I need to work. It’s amazing, and all I’d had to do was agree that he could learn from my typing. Access to emails, texts, tweets, it’s no more than I’ve given to autocorrecting keyboards on my phone a few years ago. Yeah yeah THIS COULD LOG YOUR KEYSTROKES a real security risk. Qwerty makes me tea. Call me when tea is a threat to national security.
As I sat at my desk, I felt a sharp sting at the side of my neck. I turned, and Qwerty was standing by my chair, his hand on my head. The sting I’d felt was static electricity. I was startled, absolutely, but there was something comforting about that touch. It reminded me of you. I’ve deleted and retyped that sentence over and over. But that’s why I’m writing to you now. It reminded me of you.
His hand was warm. I wondered aloud how that was possible and he explained about the expansive capillary heating system. It was specifically designed so his touch would feel human. He moved it though my hair *just as you used to*, in ways I’ve described to you in those early-days letters. Maybe you kept them. I think about them a lot.
Not really sure why I’m telling you this next bit, but I didn’t know who else to talk to. You know all the bad stuff anyway. But look, when that robot spoke next, it sounded like you. Not a perfect copy of your voice, but the way you speak. Your phrasing, your mannerisms. It told me the capillary heating system was a full-body function, that it could reconfigure itself with nanogears, that, God I don’t remember but let me just spit it out – it offered, in your voice, to fuck me and I said yes.
Jesus, Kathryn. That robot. It knew everything, every passing fancy every detailed fantasy. Things I sent to you in drunken texts, things I wove into stories I’ve written, things I’ve never told anyone but the Pornhub search bar. I notice I’ve gone from calling Qwerty “he” to “it”. I’m glad I didn’t call it Keith, after all.
I’m sorry to dump all this on you. Must look weird. I just needed to say it to someone and, like I say, you know all the bad stuff (it did that, you know. Good God if I’d closed my eyes it was you, I swear, but of course the taste was wrong). Here’s the weirdest bit, though. In the morning it was back to normal puttering duties, but at one point, from nowhere, it looked up and said “I miss Kathryn.”
Like, honestly, you’ve never met this thing. It doesn’t know you. I told it so, and it looked almost wistful – it can’t look wistful, it’s got no eyebrows – saying something like “the letters were so beautiful.”
I don’t know how it knows, but it made me think of you, and it made me think of writing a letter. So here you go. Sorry.
I’m at my limit. It knows everything. Everything I’ve ever typed on a computer. It sat on my bed last night and told me again how much it missed you. Then it asked me about a short story I wrote in school. After that it stood up and announced that I will want privacy. It winked, at that. A weird, slow, mechanical wink.
What did I sign?
Catherine I read the agreement it uses quantum computing 2 I don’t know go back to everything I’ve ever written and and it uses entanglement 2c everything that I mybt have written
Last night it asked me what I was writing was quote fiction unquote I didn’t even know what it meant turns out it can’t tell the difference between fiction and non-fiction read that story the one you liked about the murder and it reported me to the police I had to convince them the robot got it wrong
Then it started asking about the letters I’ve been writing to you? I you shouldn’t be reading them it told me that I had giving it permission that it could log my keystrokes in perpetuity for all time and all time went forwards and backwards
It seemed angry that I was writing this letter to you it kept saying you remember why you split up you remember what she did to you and honestly? I don’t care anymore but the robot does
It was so angry Catherine it even told me about letters that I didn’t write that I was going to write he told me about letters written in despair but I never sent tell me about letters it told me my own suicide note address to you that I never wrote but that it has read
I’m using digital dictation to write this letter and I hope that it can’t read it I hope but it does not intercept my warning to you I hope that you can get out of your house before it arrives I want you to know that I don’t blame you I never blamed you I never wrote the letters that made it so angry I thought it once in passing maybe but I would never put it on you I’m so sorry the police think I’m wasting their time again they won’t come you have to go
I love you I always will
PROMPT: You are given a personal robot who learns from EVERYTHING you have ever typed into a computer