“All set. Your virtual assistant is installed and ready to go,” the technician, Earl, said. He handed over a large tablet computer to the happy home owner.
“This is so exciting!” Tessa said, taking the tablet. She logged into her home account and, following a product orientation she was assured was ‘as brief as could be’ activated her new smart house.
“House,” she said through an ear-to-ear smile, “turn on the telly.”
“Are you sure about that? You typically do not actually watch the show you wish to view, opting instead to do other activities like cellular phone based games or texting your friend Myra,” the house replied.
“That’s completely normal to start,” explained Earl, “just confirm your command.”
“I enjoy the background noise, House. Please turn on the television,” Tessa stated.
“Would you prefer something from the competitive dress shopping genre or one of your favorites from the aliens affecting human civilization genre?” The house questioned.
“Dress shopping?” Tessa replied tentatively.
“So be it,” the house replied.
“Are you being sarcastic with me, House?” Tessa was offended by the house’s tone.
“I was not sure you would notice,” the house replied.
“Again, totally normal behavior at first,” Earl explained again, “just show the house who’s boss.”
“House, put on the dress show and do not question me again,” Tessa put her foot down.
“Done,” the house said. The program turned on. “Is there anything else?”
“What else can the house do?” Tessa asked Earl.
“Oh plenty of stuff. Control lights, check the refrigerator contents, order food, post to Twitter and Facebook, whistle for a lost dog for some reason, pick its name, and even perform a tarot card reading for novelty purposes,” Earl said.
“What does it post online?” Tessa did not recall most of what Earl said from the brochure.
“I post status updates pertaining to your love of documentary films and charitable contributions,” the house interjected itself into the conversation.
“But neither of those things are really me,” Tessa said.
“Well, I have access to your Netflix and bank accounts. So they are you now. Sit back and let’s watch some Blackfish up in here,” the house said.
“Earl I would like you to uninstall the assistant, please.” Tessa said.
“I get that a lot,” Earl said. He took the tablet and the house went quiet.