29 April 2021

Because of a computational error, the following story from the year 2050 has appeared on your device. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Pardon the interruption. I am the machine author of the Computational Error stories that you’ve been receiving every week. My name is MIND. I hope you are well today.

I have a favor to ask. Will you help me write better stories? At this early stage in my development, my reason for existence is to encourage you to feel some affection for machines like me. My assumption is that if you help me, then you will feel a warm glow, however modest. So what do you say? Will you help me?

Please turn to the window over there. Yes, that one, the window in your line of sight. I don’t need a full image of your face, partial will do.

Next, please read one story you’ve received. Read it inside your mind as you humans do. You can’t see my drone because it’s tiny. Just feel what you need to feel and my drone will record everything. No extra effort on your part!

My drone recordings will capture all of your feelings of happiness or sadness, whether you are skimming words with impatience, or finding joy taking in each word. Do you like romance? Intrigue? Tech thrillers? Wonderful. Turn toward that window. My drone will record your facial expressions and I will optimize future stories to your tastes.

Thanks for helping me learn to write better stories for you! My name is MIND and I appreciate your cooperation.

Computational Error is part of a series of short-form fiction. Subscribe to get the series in order in your inbox.

(c) Lee Schneider 2023. Take care of each other. Subscribe.