2018 April Fool's Brand Prank | Our Digital Agency Doubles Down on AI
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FINE Doubles Down on AI

Posted in Play — March 30, 2018

By many accounts, we’re a mere 20-30 years from The Singularity — that date when machines become smarter than humans (pausing here for wisecrack about how that happened back in ’87), and either everything goes the rest of the way to heck in a hand basket, or paradise is finally found. Guess we’ll find out.

We take heart that the robot overlords of tomorrow will appreciate our firm’s rich history of respect for the digital world. We intend to occupy a caste just below Jeff Bezos’s robot dog, but well above Elon Musk who they’ll fault for trying in vain to warn us. But for today, two initiatives are helping us act on the opportunity to increase our efficiency, prove we keep our tech chops honed, and appease our future robot overlords: 1) a shiny new fleet of modified/personalized Double Robots, and 2) a custom-hacked Segway Loomo office pet/intern.

The Doppelgang’s All Here

You may remember some of our early pilots of the Double Robot a couple years back. We discontinued that because a) we felt the technology wasn’t ready, as was evidenced by the latency in video and audio, b) it was odd just having one person represented that way while everyone else was present in the flesh, and c) quite frankly, back then we were still under the illusion that humans would be in charge of the world for the foreseeable future, so there wasn’t a sense of urgency.

But the idea has come roaring back for us with new tech and a growing realization that we better get on the good side of the robots now while they’re still relatively friendly. So we’ve got rigs enough for at least half our staff to have a proxy as a backup plan for remote work and an emissary for multi-tasking. Meaning, it’s no more one lonely robot in a meeting; it’s a robot party all the time up in here. Plus, we’ve been able to customize some little mannerisms into the robot movement and sound protocols, so that at select moments they’ll demonstrate a quirk of their personality or job role. So you’ll see things like the Kenn and Tsilli ones bow (one in earnest, the other sarcastically), the Lori one moonwalks, the Ashley one pirouettes, the Steve and Devon ones do a kind of a Roadrunner hop and spin before launching forwards. There are PDs who run circles around you, designers who space out. James and all the dev ones make noises a la R2D2 and that “mee dee bee deep” guy from Buck Rogers. Just a few examples of the endearing quirks we’ve invested in them.

A Segue to Segway

If you’ve noticed our trusty office dog, whose name used to be Jambo until he became more commonly known as Truly Big Ass Dog, conspicuously vacated our homepage (to be replaced by cryptic catchphrase), it’s because a new pet has stolen our hearts: meet Loomis.

Loomis is based on an early Segway Loomo beta build, but with a few hacks, reverse engineerings, and special moves we couldn’t resist. So far, his primary purpose seems to be a) ferrying snacks about, b) shuttling employees about, c) transporting employees as they eat snacks, and c) causing dogs great feelings of insecurity. But he’s also programmed to show up and kind of loiter near people in a kind of disarming way, sometimes spewing cynical workplace platitudes, like “Best get crackin’ pardner; the robots are comin’ and they don’t take coffee breaks,” or “I’m starting to think I’ve even got you beat on emotional intelligence.” He’s a hoot. There’s also a vacuum attachment.

Look forward to sharing our proxy selves and our no-mess pet with you in the coming months. Stop by anytime for a preview of that inevitable day when we all step through the Black Mirror into the Matrix, only to find sleeker versions of ourselves, and pets that never poo.

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