2023 April 1
Chatbot Replaces Fall Creek List Manager
The Fall Creek list manager has been replaced by a lightning-fast, deep listening, super-efficient chatbot !
Here is the back story.
Yesterday, sipping a fermented lemon-ginger soft drink at the famous Ithaca Cafe (https://ithacacafe.com), I participated in an astonishing conversation. (By the way, the Cafe’s “kombuchachacha” is the best of the best, and it comes in a choice of 19 different flavors! https://www.liveeatlearn.com/best-kombucha-flavors/ ).
So I am sitting at the cafe, when a grey-haired man (who looked like Picasso’s sketches of Don Quixote) sat himself down at my table, even though there were plenty of empty and available tables and chairs.
“You’re new to Fall Creek?” he asked.
“Yes,” I replied, “since January.”
“Do you know about the email discussion list?”
“A friend told me. I joined the first day I arrived.”
The smiling waitress appeared with my intrusive table-mate’s plate of Pastorami on rye. I was still deciding between the Marty Reuben sandwich (“the imported Swiss cheese has twice as many holes per chunk”), and the Bill Maherblecake (Genuinely ingenious, funny, and accurate — but occasionally hard to swallow).
“Try the Reapfried beans with an Oberry smoothie,” he suggested. “Have you noticed any changes on the list during the past 3 months?”
“When I first joined I did everything wrong,” I explained. “Three or four days after my post, I would get a friendly reminder to read the inspiring welcome message (Why This List? https://fallcreeksuperlist.com/list/why-this-list/), to review the list of “Guidelines and Best Practices” (https://fallcreeksuperlist.com/ithaca/fc-list-guidelines/), or to re-send my post without the file attachments.”
“How did that make you feel?” he asked compassionately.
“Everything was fine until one day I noticed that the messages from the list manager were coming instantly — immediately after I posted my message.”
“A human with multifarious tasks and responsibilities,” he said “can never beat the speed of a well-programmed bot. And then?”
The waitress reappeared, still smiling, and I chose the Anna Kellesterol-free Avocado Tahini, with a carafe of Amaretto Yang.
“Then, not only were the List Manager replies coming instantaneously, but the tone of the messages became increasingly more blunt and cold.”
“For example?” he asked.
“Well, the first one said ‘Please check our guidelines.’ … The next one ‘The guidelines are easily available’, and then the third message admonished ‘The guidelines are written not so I can hear myself talk!’
He laughed and then said. “New technologies come with unforeseen bugs that need to be exterminated.”
“And then that snoopy bot,” I continued “researched all my previous posts, and asked if I would like them to be edited, rewritten, proofread and grammar-checked with the latest writing tool at Grammarvelous.com.”
“You express yourself clearly and succinctly,” he said. “You don’t need software to do your thinking and writing.”
“Did you know the human list manager well?” I asked him.
“You could say that. Yet, like the sharp edge of a razor, the quest for self-knowledge is a perilous and ever-changing path.”
Suddenly his phone rang — to the tune of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdH1hSWGFGU) — and then the voice message said: “This is your automated state-of-the-art List Manager. Based on your previous posts, we have switched you from digest mode to individual emails.”
He tossed his sandwich into his backpack, and then stood up.
“The genie is out of the bottle,” he said, as the Fall Creek List Manager sent me an email with links to that notoriously prescient Sorcerer’s Apprentice scene from Fantasia.
part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VErKCq1IGIU
part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcesnqVF0us
part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPDSoFgivPA
“Got to run and fix this,” he said. “Nice to meet you. See you ’round the ‘hood.”
The waitress shouted to him, “Sir, you forgot the tip!”
As he danced through the doorway, he shouted back.
“The tip. Here is the tip: Every technology is both a blessing and a burden.“
Message posted to the Fall Creek discussion list by “Chess”
Chester (“Chess”) Forfun
Utica Street, Fall Creek resident since January 1
2023 April 1