When I was in high school there used to be this thing called AOL Instant Messenger. There also used to be this thing called AOL, which was short for America Online, one of the ways people got on the internet, which was gas-powered in those days. Anyhow, there was this robot some people programmed called SmarterChild, who you could message & it could vaguely respond to you. I got way more of a kick out of it than was rational, but these were simpler times. The following is a random conversation I had with the robot one day in 2003, when I was 19. I’ve posted this conversation in its entirety, as a historical encapsulation of what it was to be witnessing the decline of meaningful human interaction at the turn of the century.
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