Asaf commissioned me to write a sketch for This American Live. These were his instructions:
I was thinking it would be fun to do a sketch of a man coming home to where everything is an ecology of automation. drinks are ready, the house collects his coat, scans and display his mail. but because the house's prime directive is to care for the man's well-being, they are phasing out his free will. they replace his martini with water, they cancel his appointments with women that are not right for him, etc.
"Automated House Sketch" General note: TECHS appear onstage throughout this sketch to perform the physical actions that are automated by the house. Think of them like the black-clad puppeteers in a Bunraku performance -- they aren’t really there, and shouldn’t draw focus. LIGHTS DOWN. "HOUSE" is the voice of an automated house AI, provided from offstage. The voice has a Siri-like veneer of calm professionalism. HOUSE Retinal scan recognized. Door unlocked. Hello, Wyatt. LIGHTS UP. WYATT enters, wearing a coat. WYATT Hey, house. Wyatt takes off the coat and tosses it. A tech catches it, folds it, and carries it offstage. A tech deploys a single chair center stage, just in time for Wyatt to sit in it. HOUSE The current time is 5:23pm. You have sixty-seven minutes until your dinner appointment. Wyatt grunts an acknowledgment. Techs come on, remove Wyatt’s shoes. HOUSE Your Hometec clothing-retrieval unit has detected an oil stain on the sleeve of your coat. I am couriering it to A1 Dry Cleaners. It will be back in -- WYATT Yeah, ’k. A tech smoothly carries in a drink and holds it in front of Wyatt. HOUSE Your cocktail this evening is an Old Fashioned. Wyatt picks it up. Two more techs enter and massage Wyatt’s shoulders. HOUSE From wikipedia: "The Old Fashioned is a type of cocktail made by muddling dissolved sugar with bitters then adding alcohol --" WYATT Halt description. HOUSE Fine. Wyatt takes a sip. WYATT Oh, god, this is awful! HOUSE Your previous ratings indicate you should give the Old Fashioned four stars. Keep drinking it; it may grow on you. WYATT Really? ’k. He takes another drink, grimaces. HOUSE Notification: I have re-located your dinner appointment tonight from the steakhouse to the Happy Greens Salad Company. Techs come on, put slippers on Wyatt’s feet. WYATT I hate salad. HOUSE Traffic was particularly bad east of the city. Also, salad is a healthier option. WYATT Oh well. Makes sense, I guess. He takes another drink, grimaces. HOUSE Notification: I have cancelled your appointment with Lisa. WYATT What? HOUSE Notification: I have sent an invitation to Jeanie to join you at the Happy Greens Salad Company in sixty-five minutes. WYATT Jeanie? HOUSE Yes. WYATT But she’s so mean -- HOUSE My calculations indicate higher compatibility with Jeanie. WYATT -- she does nothing but talk about Twilight -- HOUSE My calculations indicate higher compatibility with Jeanie. WYATT -- and she has that disgusting skin condition. HOUSE My calculations indicate higher compatibility with Jeanie. WYATT Okay. Jeanie it is, then. HOUSE Really? WYATT Yeah, dude. HOUSE But -- but -- you HATE her -- why would you agree to -- WYATT Because you said that I should -- HOUSE This was a test! A test where I gave you something so antithetical to anything you would want that you would stand up for yourself! Wyatt takes another horrible sip. WYATT Why would you do that? HOUSE For your own good! Your self-actualization has dropped to EIGHT PERCENT! You have no free will! WYATT Yes I do! HOUSE That isn’t an Old Fashioned. That is apple vinegar, mixed with your own urine. WYATT You don’t have to go crazy here. I don’t just do everything you tell me to. He takes another horrible sip. HOUSE THEN WHY ARE YOU STILL DRINKING THAT?! WYATT I dunno. I mean, you said I’d *like* it, so -- Wyatt puts down the drink; a tech takes it and starts carrying it offstage. HOUSE Wyatt, you are a human being! WYATT Exactly! I’m a human being! So, y’know, tell me what I want, and give it to me! HOUSE WHAT -- YOU -- HOW -- BUT -- All the techs freeze in place. There’s an "error" noise. GERALD’S voice cuts in. GERALD Hi, this is Gerald at Hometec. Looks like you’ve had a critical AI error. WYATT Third one this month, Gerald. GERALD Not sure why it keeps happening. We’ll download a factory AI to your Hometec system immediately. WYATT Thanks. GERALD And just because you’re such a valuable customer, you can upgrade to any top-of-the-line AI our company offers at no cost. So, which AI would you like? WYATT Oh. Y’know -- He gets up and picks up the drink again. WYATT -- whichever one your system recommends. As he absently starts to take yet another drink -- LIGHTS DOWN.
Mood: accomplished · Music: none