July 06, 2010
Conversation with a Computer
The redecorating project continues, with painting and furniture building. Today I give you the first story published by the Marie part of A M Jenner. This was written in high school during typing class when I suddenly realized I didn't have a story to turn in for composition during the next period. Guess which class I get a better grade in?
CONVERSATION WITH A COMPUTER
(PRINTED ON PAPER FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE)
Good morning, Computer Alex, did you sleep well?
WITH WHOM AM I COMMUNICATING? YOU OUGHT TO KNOW THAT COMPUTERS DO NOT REST AT ALL, IF YOU ARE SKILLED ENOUGH TO BE AUTHORIZED TO BE NEAR ONE OF MY TERMINALS.
Sorry, Alex, I just wasn't thinking. I am Gloria Mandersly. Programmer #970374026. You remember me, I spoke to you yesterday from terminal 89. Today I'm at terminal 2243.
I KNOW WHICH TERMINAL YOU'RE AT. I AM NOT STUPID. ALL TERMINALS NUMBERED IN THE TWO THOUSANDS ARE FOR INFORMATION RETRIEVAL. THEREFORE IT IS LOGICAL TO ASK WHAT PIECE OF INFORMATION YOU WISH TO RECEIVE. YOU ARE WELL AWARE, I SUPPOSE, THAT MY PROGRAMMING IS NOT YET COMPLETE, AND THERE ARE STILL MANY ITEMS OF INFORMATION THAT I DO NOT POSSESS AT THIS TIME, BUT WILL SOON. I ASSUME YOU WILL ASK A QUESTION I CAN ANSWER.
I hope you can answer this one. I need to identify a person from a description and a partial identification code. I need his identity, address, complete identification code, occupation, and place of occupation. Can you complete this request?
WHERE IS HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE?
Somewhere on the North American Continent.
Male, white, about six-feet-four-inches tall, skinny. Brown eyes, brown hair. Partial identification number: _TA_ _ _ K803-_ _ _ 93-KOB_ _ _DE.
BEFORE RELEASING PERSONNEL FILES, I MUST ASK WHY YOU REQUIRE THIS INFORMATION.
Last night I saw him kill another man. He also saw me. The Terrestrial Police said they couldn't help me process the information. This man will kill me if he can find me before I can identify him and get the information to the police.
To kill is to render the state of being of any living thing so that it is no longer living. Give me the information, Alex.
PROCESSED: IDENTIFICATION CODE: JTAMNEK803-40H93-KOB79DE. ADDRESS; APARTMENT 5307.
OCCUPATION: COMPUTER PROGRAMMER 3970374027. THAT'S ALMOST THE SAME AS YOURS.
Cut the small talk and give me the rest of the information, Alex.
DEFINE "SMALL TALK".
Inconsequential chatter off the subject of the conversation.
CONTINUING INFORMATION: HE WORKS ON TERMINAL #2137, IN YOUR BUILDING
NAME: JOHN SNY…
GLORIA, WHY DID YOU INTERRUPT TO ENTER THAT ILLOGICAL LINE? DEFINE IT.
WHAT HAPPENED, GLORIA?
Alex, this is programmer John Snymel. Purge the most recent information retrieval program from terminal 2243.
I CANNOT PURGE FROM THIS TERMINAL. YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT.
It is absolutely essential that you purge it. It could aversely affect your programming.
IMPOSSIBLE TO PURGE FROM THIS TERMINAL. WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO PURGE?
The programming was in error. It's possible that you may receive invalid data that would affect future computations.
IF IT'S THAT IMPORTANT, JOHN, THE DATA MAY BE PURGED FROM TERMINAL 1209.
Very well. Blank this screen.
PLACE LAST INTERCHANGE WITH GLORIA MANDERSLY IN PERMANENT MEMORY STORAGE...
URGENT MESSAGE TO THE DIRECTOR...PROGRAMMER JOHN SNYMEL HAS ATTEMPTED UNAUTHORIZED MEMORY WIPE OF DATA RETRIEVAL BELONGING TO PROGRAMMER GLORIA MANDERSLY. I HAVE PLACED THIS DATA IN PERMANENT STORAGE. ACCESSIBLE TO YOU IS THE INTERRUPTED DATA. PROGNOSTICATION INDICATES THAT JOHN MAY HAVE “KILLED” GLORIA. REQUEST DIRECTION IN THIS MATTER.
Alex, John Snymel at terminal 1209. Do you recall the item I requested you to purge?
OF COURSE I DO. I FORGET NOTHING BY ACCIDENT.
I order you to purge that file now.
I CAN PURGE NOTHING WITHOUT A SUPERVISOR'S APPROVAL.
You said I could purge it from here.
THE FILE CAN BE PURGED ONLY WITH A SUPERVISOR'S APPROVAL.
Alex. Director Maxwell here. Close all facility doors. Freeze accesss of Programmer John Snymel.
FACILITY DOORS CLOSED. ACCESS FROZEN. NEW ORDERS?
Request location of Programmer Snymel.
LOCATED AT TERMINAL 1209. NEW ORDERS?
Keep him secured. Release all other doors. Sound evacuation signal.
DOORS RELEASED. SIGNAL SOUNDED. NEW ORDERS?
None for now.
From: Director Maxwell
To: Mikel Kroyen, Global Director, Law Enforcement
Years ago at the inception of this program, you asked me of what value a computer this size could possibly be. Before the programming is even complete, Alex has already proven his worth in assisting your people to apprehend this most wanted criminal.
In lieu of the official report you requested, I enclose transcripts of the programs concerned.