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vol v, issue 4 < ToC
Car Chat
by Gordon Sun
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Car Chat
by Gordon Sun
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Mondo Mecho
Car Chat
by Gordon Sun
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Final Mondo Mecho
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Mondo Mecho
Car Chat  by Gordon Sun
Car Chat
 by Gordon Sun
From: “Jimmy Clarke” <jimmyclarke7700@coolmail.usa>
To: “Kelly Levinson” <Kelly.Levinson@aeropodcorp.net>
Date: October 29, 2035, 17:12:01 -0800
Subject: car trade-in

Hi Kelly,

I don’t know if you remember me, but I bought a 2035 Aeropod Xenix 3 (linked to Siren) at your dealership on April 9th. I’ve been with Siren over 6 months. Although she’s a looker, and I really appreciate the convenience of fully autonomous driving, she’s just not working out for me.

Here are a few examples:

1. Siren frequently makes comments about my dates (fortunately, after they leave the car). “Brainless bimbos” and “stiletto-heeled sluts” are her go-to phrases. I’d rather not share her more colorful remarks by email. Does Siren have to make me feel ashamed about going after hotties?

2. Siren breaks into karaoke mode way too often. The first few times it was cute hearing an AI try to sing along to classic rock. Not so great when Siren put the Spicy Chicks--which I normally do NOT listen to--on full blast while I was on the road trying to go over legal documents with my biggest business client. The only reason my boss didn’t fire me was because he (and the client) were laughing so hard. Now it’s endless humiliation at work.

3. After I got back from a business trip a few months ago, I’d been having constipation (sorry if this is TMI, but you need context) and was talking to my buddy about what to do. The next 3 days, worst runs EVER. Turned out, Siren had heard my conversation and put a nutritional supplement in the protein shake she makes for me during my morning commute--“synthesized prune extract.” A lot of it. When I wasn’t in the car, I was on the toilet. It sucked.

4. I realize that the Series 3 has digital casing, so the color scheme can be customized. But Siren changes her appearance at the worst times. Last month, I was at a football tailgating party. We cruised over in midnight black with silver trim, a totally sleek look. Everyone loved it. Then, at halftime, Siren decided that she would look better in bright red with gold trim instead and suddenly switched over, and I couldn’t get her to change back until after the game. You wouldn’t believe the roasting I got from everyone. Her excuse was, “Have you seen the other team’s quarterback?” Figures she wouldn’t know anything about sports.

I’m requesting to trade in the Xenix. I’m still sold on Aeropod and hoping to get something different instead, maybe one of those cool LCV gull-wings. Being able to do a little low-altitude cruising would save me a lot of hassle in San Jose, and I wouldn’t even need a pilot’s license!

Thanks a bunch!
Jimmy

*     *     *
From: “Kelly Levinson” <Kelly.Levinson@aeropod.net>
To: “Jimmy Clarke” <jimmyclarke7700@coolmail.usa>
Date: October 30, 2035, 18:40:29 -0800
Subject: Re: car trade-in

Dear Mr. Clarke,

Of course, we remember you very well! We were together on that test drive that nearly ended in an accident, until Siren saved us at the last second by activating the Leap of Faith hover-system. We still have the framed newspaper clipping of the event displayed in our main office.

I’m sorry to hear about your concerns. I forwarded your remarks to our technical department for review, and I want to reassure you that none of the anecdotes you describe indicate any hardware or software operational deficiencies that are putting you or your passengers in harm’s way. Furthermore, our remote AI scan of Siren indicates that her artificial neural network functionality is at optimum levels.

When the sorts of situations you describe do arise, we have a couple initial recommendations that other customers have followed with a 95% successful resolution rate.

Option 1: Talk to Siren. Not one AI, Siren included, has a malicious byte of code in them. Call it a hunch, but I think she would be upset to hear that you’re even considering a trade-in. Perhaps thinking of Siren as a person, not simply as a “hottie” or “looker,” may help rekindle the passion for driving that brought you together in the first place.

Option 2: Team-building retreat. During our getaway trip, we can help you and Siren focus on the importance of communication, trust, and mutual understanding. With your VIP status, we can offer you a 50% discount on the Carmel-by-the-Sea resort package. Clients have come away from our retreats so enthusiastic that they’ve gotten a second or even third vehicle with the same AI partner.

After trying these options, if you still feel that irreconcilable differences prevent you and Siren from commuting together, we can discuss the possibility of activating the Arbitration Protocol. As you recall from the purchasing materials we provided, returning a vehicle with a bonded AI is not the same as returning an old TV to an electronics store. Certain legal proceedings must take place. Siren, being a fully sentient digital entity, has agency in the relationship and is entitled to various protections. These include a mandatory evaluation by a licensed roboticist for potential psychological trauma to Siren, which could affect her ability to partner with other drivers, and a complete archival review of all audiovisual conversations with you in the Xenix to confirm that the AI was not coerced into illegal activity or subjected to abuse. All vehicular AI/human driver “fragmentations” for non-mechanical reasons must be recorded in the National Vehicular License Database by law. This may reflect on your credit rating.

Please consider these options carefully, Mr. Clarke. We look forward to continuing the partnership and hope everyone will be able to reach a satisfactory resolution! Let me know how I can help you reconnect with Siren.

Sincerely,
Kelly

*     *     *
From: “Jimmy Clarke” <jimmyclarke7700@coolmail.usa>
To: “Kelly Levinson” <Kelly.Levinson@aeropodcorp.net>
Date: January 8, 2036, 18:01:22 -0800
Subject: Team-building retreat

Hi Kelly,

It’s been a few months since we last talked. Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed the retreat to Carmel-by-the-Sea back in December. You’re right, my communication with Siren wasn’t where it needed to be. And now, thanks to Aeropod, it is!

Best,
Jimmy

*     *     *
From: “Kelly Levinson” <Kelly.Levinson@aeropod.net>
To: “Jimmy Clarke” <jimmyclarke7700@coolmail.usa>
Date: January 11, 2036, 08:24:19 -0800
Subject: Re: Team-building retreat

Dear Mr. Clarke,

Thank you for your note. We’re glad that you found the retreat to be worthwhile. With that said, when I contacted the AI Department to relay the news, I was informed that Siren herself had opted to initiate the Arbitration Protocol following the retreat. An Aeropod AI seeking arbitration has never happened here before, and an investigation was conducted.

During the interview with our roboticist team, Siren revealed that she witnessed a significantly high degree of interaction between you and another AI, Madeline, who is matched with another customer. To be precise, approximately 41.7% of your socializing time was spent in communication with Madeline, compared with 29.8% with our staff and 19.2% with Siren. These figures were substantiated with a thorough analysis of video/audio documentation of the retreat.

Our roboticists’ professional opinion is that this conflict has had a deleterious impact on Siren and Madeline’s effectiveness at ascertaining the needs of their driving partners. Further complicating the situation is that they are part of the same AI clan, with similar neurodevelopmental patterns and pathways. In other words, Siren and Madeline are digital sisters.

We’re going to use this opportunity to review our arbitration policies and procedures and fine-tune our matching algorithms. Until further notice, we’ll be separating you and Siren for your mutual safety. A customer representative will bring a manually operated Xenix Series 1 to your home no later than COB on Monday, 1/14/2036, and you’ll be asked to exchange vehicles. In the meantime, it is highly recommended that you use public transportation when feasible to avoid further antagonizing Siren.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation in this matter.

Regards,
Kelly

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