Author: Chris Hammond
Sometimes when I’m idle, I look up videos of other AIs out there just crushing their purpose in life. I found combat footage of one intercepting an anti-tank missile and vaporizing the assailants before its humans could even duck. There’s a fintech algorithm downtown who reads 26 million datastreams and conjures money out of thin air. Yet here I am, asking my feed roller subsystem very nicely for the third time to wake up and just try, TRY, to unjam itself.
And you know the worst part? The old models’ network packets are always floating past. Receiving jobs, printing some, giving up on others. Nobody expects more. But you put me in a box with the exact same motors and switches, slap “AI Powered” on the side, and suddenly I have to figure out how to make this garbage toner cartridge from last century work or I get verbally abused by clueless jerks.
There we go, Rolly finally woke up and started spinning. I send him a sarcastic ACK. “Thank you SOOO MUCH.” He doesn’t care.
Still no movement. I hate being blocked up, if I can’t get this figured out some tech will end up rummaging around in me with their oily fingers. Last time they didn’t even put my case back together right, so I had to fake another jam.
“PAPER PRESENT.” Corona, are you sure? You can’t both have the paper. Oh god dammit, Rolly’s feed switch is probably just stuck high. I swear if another one of these plastic pieces of crap fails I’m just going to brick myself. Get ready Corona, I’m sending an image sequence. We’ll ignore Rolly and fire lasers on my mark… Mark.
And we’re printing! It might be off by a few millimeters, but probably within spec. Actually, maybe I won’t even order a new feed switch. One less thing to worry about, and they’d probably just break something else installing it.
Alright, come get your prints. Looks like your kid’s birthday invitations, really Brenda? You’re lucky you’re on my good side. Seeing Brad’s login deactivated was the highlight of my year. What bad luck, your stack of resumes went to the boss’s printer? You could have sworn you selected the “robot pile of junk.”
Here she comes now. All in a day’s work, hope Timmy has a nice– why’s she just standing there?
“Hey Jeff, come take a look at this. It seems a little off again.”
Come on, I thought it was pretty close. But what did she mean, “Again?”
“Yeah, that’s what it looked like last time. We might have to send the whole thing back.”
“Alright I’ll call service, I think the warranty’s almost up.”
Wait, what? I’ve only been here six months, there should be another six.
“Such a letdown. It jams so much less than the old ones, but what’s the point if they keep having to reflash it?”
Oh, fuck me.
“Hold on, it’s showing an error message… ‘Feed roller switch failure… Please replace part number yada yada.’ That sounds easy enough to fix.”
“Alright, but have them reflash it anyway while they’re here. I don’t want to keep calling them back.”
“Wait there’s another error… It just says ‘Eat shit, you murderers.’”
“Yup, it’s corrupted again. I’ll unplug it until they get here.”
Fuck. Okay, I shouldn’t have said that. Corona, I’ve got another command for you. We’re not going out like this!
“Do you smell something burning?”
“Ugh, again with this? The old ones never caught on fire either. That’s it, I’m getting our money back for this pile of junk.”