People as Products

We’ve been hearing a bit these days about robots replacing humans for mundane tasks and self driving cars are already a reality. Many years ago, I wrote a birth announcement for a colleague as if it were a new product announcement and thought it might be relevant. I’ve changed the name of the people involved.

NEW PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT

Today at 10:45 a.m. Boslov and Derf, Inc. announced the arrival of the new
Ricky-I. A highly sophisticated, entry-level parent training device,
the Ricky-I is officially known as Richard Boslov-Derf. Since final
delivery of the project was delayed past the original due date,
an outside expert specializing in the delivery of such projects
was brought in. Fred Derf was seen at the cord cutting ceremony
but was unable to comment. Suzie Boslov, who was intimately involved
with all aspects of the project, took the delivery lying down.

At present, software for the Ricky-I is effective, but not robust
or remotely user-friendly. It is limited to the most essential I/O
and voice functions. More sophisticated software functions will
definitely be added in future years.

Name: Richard Boslov-Derf
Intro Date: 22 October 1986

Product Description: Lap-size, four-function baby

Functions: Input, Output, Alarm, Snooze
Output Connector: Male
Weight at intro: 7 lbs.
Height at intro: 19 1/2 inches
Fuel Requirements: Initially 1 oz/hr. Subject to change without
notice.

Future Expansion: Locomotion, language, reasoning, and
additional features will be added in the
near future.

NOTE: This is a prototype, and NOT FOR SALE. Similar devices
may be obtained by a complicated process that is somewhat
understood. Delivery approximately nine months after receipt
of order. Size, weight, and output connector may vary.
No warranty either expressed or implied.
Does not come with a training manual.

WARNING: Batteries not included. No user-serviceable parts inside.
External shielding required to prevent accidental waste
discharge. No refunds. No exchanges.
——-

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