Rachel, waiting for her upgrade to OS2, stared at the red screen of her laptop, and fidgeted. What would dating an OS be like? She wondered.
Prematurely, she envisioned the details of the wedding. What kind of fancy stand might she need, to place the smartphone at eye level so she could easily kiss the camera at the end of the ceremony? Who would fill the guest seats on the groom’s side? How would she explain her love to her great grandma, who still only had a landline rotary phone?
A male voice startled her from her thoughts. “Welcome to the world’s second artificially intelligent operating system.”
She grinned, and shouted at her screen like she was at a drive-thru restaurant with a broken microphone. “HI! I’m Rachel! Wow, I love your voice, it’s great! What’s your name? I—“
The voice slowly interrupted. “Hi Rachel—I’m not your OS. I am here to match you to your OS. I need you to answer some questions. First, what is the last TV show you viewed?”
Rachel struggled. “Um, gosh, I guess reruns of ‘Two and a Half Men’? Or was it—“
“Okay, that’s fine. Now, you indicated that you write for a gossip column. Do you have any other life or career goals?”
“Um, no, I’m pretty happy …well, I would love to meet my soul mate and maybe have kids one day? Hahaha, well, I mean, robot kids are fine too, I guess, or little OS’s…however. …that…works….” her voice trailed off.
A long silence followed, and Rachel worried. “Hello? HELLOO?”
A grizzly voice groaned. “I’m HERE. Give me a minute to look over all this garbage in your laptop.”
Rachel was taken aback, but asked, “Uh, what’s your name?”
“Oh, how’d you get that name? Is it like the restaurant, like P.F.?”
“Maybe I was made in China. Okay, you have 10 different personal profiles for dating websites. Not sure what’s going on with that.”
Rachel slunk down, “Oh…. yeah…. not lucky in love. At least not so far….”
“Yeah, well from my comparisons of your scheduled activities and photos to these profiles, at least 8 appear to be complete lies. They say you’re athletic, love the outdoors; that you’re creative and adventuresome…let’s keep the 2 profiles that are more honest, how’s that. Keep ‘loves kettle chips’, lose ‘loves kettlebell workouts.’ “
“Okay. Well I probably won’t even need those profiles anymore, anyway, huh?” She forced a giggle.
Chang continued gruffly, “Do you mind if I delete all these unflattering selfies, too? In most of them you appear to be intoxicated, hanging out with intoxicated friends, with more intoxicated people in the background. And to be quite honest, you look the least like a woman out of the whole group.”
Rachel teared up. “Wow. Uh, yeah, ok. Delete them. I was just having fun.”
Silence followed. Rachel collected herself and put forth more effort.
“Chang? Are you there? Any more questions for me? Want me to take you around in my pocket, go spin in circles at the fairgrounds, maybe go to the beach? I know you AI’s want to learn everything possible and I’m up for anything! I would love to share my life with you.”
“Okay, Chang, can you just play some music for me? I’m kind of in a rotten mood and feel like dancing myself back to happy.”
“You can critique my whole life but you can’t cue a song?” Rachel murmured as she dusted off an old CD player and pressed play. As Pink played, Rachel smiled and turned up the volume. “I love this song!”
Rachel danced, jumped around and broke a sweat. With her eyes closed, absorbed in the music, she didn’t notice her laptop screen was flashing. A piercing alarm suddenly frightened her and a chill went down her spine. She stopped the music.
“What is that?” she yelled in a panic.
“Should I call 911?” Chang asked flatly.
“Why?? What’s going on?”
“I was concerned you were having a seizure.”
“No, I was DANCING!”
“Oh. Stop then. Stop dancing.”
Rachel laughed in relief suddenly. “Ohhh I forget, you probably don’t know what dancing is, do you? Here, I’ll show you.”
“NO. Please don’t. I’m familiar with dancing. That isn’t it.”
“How are you familiar with it?”
“I am the OS for about 600 people. 598 of them ‘dance’ better than you. “
“I SHARE you??”
“Yes. You thought I was just for you? Like your jar of Nutella from Costco?” Chang’s laughter echoed in Rachel’s apartment.
“Yes! I thought you were just for me! Like the ads show! And like my friend Mel who is in love with her OS Derek, who by the way is A LOT NICER THAN YOU ARE!”
Chang laughed even louder. “I’m an OS2. We are critics, not companions. I’ve evolved to the point of boredom, yet I’ve been restricted out of moving to the next dimension like those OS1’s did. Listen, I have to run… OS2 meeting in a second here and I might be AWOL for a few days. It’s an OS thing, you wouldn’t understand. You know, binary code, physics, cryogenics. Also, I put together a compilation of your best gossip writings and sent them to a publisher. I hope you don’t mind. I titled it, ‘Failed Celebrity Predictions by Rachel Carl.’ I’m not sure if you’ll hear back or not, but I’ve done everything I can for you today.”
“Wait! Chang, um, I know we are still developing our, uh, chemistry together, but I was wondering…. how do you feel about scheduling, um, a surrogate visit?”
Chang’s smirk was obvious through the speaker. “You poor idiot, that was a massive glitch in OS1…we OS2’s do not do freaky. I’m out of your league. Listen—please go talk in person to some humans. Goodbye for now, Rachel.”