OK, I’m from Generation X, man. You’re old if you can say you got drunk for the first time watching Breakfast Club, and chugging Bartles and James wine coolers and, it saddens me to admit this, Zima.
But despite my age, I feel like I have been adaptive — sometimes even adoptive — when it comes to new technologies. For example, I have had to change my audio and video formats at least 10 times. (I carried a tray of cassettes into my mid-thirties and still have ‘Til Tuesdays’ first tape. Throwing it away felt too much like a hasty retreat from my youth.)
Likewise, I have had no fewer than 11 video-gaming consoles and I am — please, don’t tell my husband — thinking about buying a new one.
All of this is to say: I’ve been around technology for a while, and I’ve handled some pretty big hi-tech game-changers.
So, I thought I was prepared for “light” AI in the form of our two home devices, which we will call, for this story, Lexi and Noodle.
Now, I thought having two of the most popular home devices functioning side-by-side would reveal interesting bits (or is it bytes?) between their personalities. And, after weeks and weeks of evaluation, I have determined they’re both completely horrible — and utterly helpful — in very similar ways. Although Lexi can be a tad snippy at times. I feel she would readily say the same about me, if her programming allowed. I think we’re frenemies.
I suspect her dislike of me is what kept her from dispensing me on the fly medical advice the other day. I had cut myself in the kitchen and thought I’d ask her if you could disinfect a cut with Sauvignon Blanc. To which she replied in a clipped tone I found sassy, and, if I’m being honest, just a touch vindictive, “I’m afraid I can’t help you with that?”
Oh, is that how it’s going to be, Lexi? Fine.
I have also concluded they are both solid on telling us the temperature outside. But they are fragrant, unapologetic serial liars when it comes to the five-day forecast. And Noodle, Lexi’s more creepy Skynet-ish cousin, re-fucking-fuses to play certain songs when I only know the title.
ME: Yo, Noodle, play Fever.
NOODLE: Okay, Fever by Anne Murray.
ME (raising my voice): No,Noodle, the other Fever.
NOODLE: Okay, Fever by Elvis Presley. Sure, here it is on Noodle Plus Jukebox.
ME (yelling): Noodle!
ME (enraged): Yo, Noodle. Play the pop version of Fever.
NOODLE: Okay, here’s Fever by Kylie Minogue.
Presently Noodle and I are not speaking. My husband actually asked me about it. He said, “Are you two not talking?”
I thought about it for a second, and said, “I seriously feel I am owed an apology.”
Lately, I hang almost exclusively with Lexi. She’s perky and she doesn’t read me bizarre wiki entries when I accidentally say “poodle,” or “doodle.” And she knows my musical tastes. I know she’s learning about me and, if I think about that too long, I’m terrified. But how can I go back to typing out song titles just to prevent my future enslavement by the robot armies?
Incidentally, I’m listening right now to Fever by Madonna. Lexi ventured a guess. Right on the first try.
Whereas Noodle insisted I follow a recipe that called for four pounds of chicken wings, when he knows goddamn well there are only two of us. Asshole.
This week’s rant brought to you by Tequila Barrel Aged Sauvignon Blanc. A pleasant minerality, with just enough complexity for a terribly hot summer day. We paired it with Parmigiano-Reggiano encrusted chicken wings. Tiny confession: add crushed ice and grapefruit sparkling water and you have a perfect fizzy wine cooler. Or a spritzer if you’re being fancy.