Day 30: Chef Robot

“No matter how much I tinker with his circuits, B-Bot CR3 is obsessed with nachos,” said Lalit.

“Nachos.” said Blake.

“Yes. We can’t get him to do anything without him asking for some.”

Blake chuckled. “That doesn’t make any sense. His neural network mimics the amalgamated brain signatures of the best chefs in the world. None that I know of are obsessed with nachos.”

“Well, the Gordon Ramsey object seems to have locked itself into quarantined memory, but the rest are fully functional.”

Blake patted Lalit on the back. “You look exhausted. Let me get you some good coffee at the cafe and we’ll go check him out.”

Coffee in hand, they met Fawiza, the neural programmer, in the test kitchen. She watched B-Bot CR3 busily chopping carrots, celery, onions, and several herbs with uncanny speed. They had achieved a new standard of graceful movement with this line of robots.

“How’s he doing?” asked Blake.

“I’ve got the munchies,” said B-Bot CR3. “I’m jonesing for melted cheese.”

Fawiza met Blake’s eyes, then looked down shyly. “I have to keep on him to do anything, which defeats his purpose, am I wrong?”

“You are as right as you are pretty,” he said.

“Down, boy,” said Lalit. “You try too hard.”

“Let’s see the neural isomorph,” said Blake.

Fawiza tapped a few keys on the crashcart, and the monitor displayed the brain amalgamation next to B-Bot CR3’s neural net.

Blake knuckled his lips. “It’s pretty close. Let’s get these Ramsey objects out of quarantine and, is it me, or is the sommelier signature getting more emphasis than the chefs’? Tune it down a little. And while you’re at it, fix the informal language.”

“Ah, come on, man,” said Lalit. “I worked hard making his language groovy.”

“Groovy? Really? No wonder he sounds like a moron.”

Fawiza stopped the recipe routine and made the adjustments, rebooting the operating system for good measure. The booting script scrolled down the screen.

“Are you busy tonight,” asked Blake.

“I have to wash my hair,” said Lalit.

“Not you.”

“I promised my mom I’d polish her spittoons.”

“Shut up, Lalit.” Blake pushed him in the shoulder. “What do you say, Fawiza? Dinner tonight?”

“I don’t think so, Blake. I’ve seen your FaceBook. I’m not sure we’re a good match.”

“You never know ’til you try,” said Blake.

The boot cycle finished, and Fawiza initiated the culinary program suite. “B-Bot CR3,” she said, “Please make the chicken piccata menu for four.”

“Initiating chicken piccata menu for four,” said the robot. “But you know what would be great? How about some nachos?”

Fawiza groaned. Lalit rolled his eyes.

“That is weird,” said Blake. “Stop the recipe and hook him up to the mother AI.”

Fawiza tapped the keys and paused.

“My taste sensors seem to have a deficiency of nachos,” said B-Bot CR3. “I will make some.”

“No,” said Fawiza. “Stand by, CR3.” She nodded to Blake.

Blake could have sworn he heard the robot sigh. “Initiate full AI analysis.”

While they waited, Blake tried to get Fawiza to open up, asking her about family, hobbies, and robot fashion. She held back but fed him little tidbits—her sister and two brothers, trail running, and fedoras. Definitely fedoras.

When the analysis finished, the mother AI produced a patch to fix some of the bugs causing problems.

Fawiza had CR3 download the patch, but after it finished, the file wasn’t there. A second try failed again so she transferred it physically with a thumb drive. She double-clicked the file to execute, but it didn’t run. After several tries, she logged in as root and forced it to execute.

The progress bar moved very slowly, but Blake took advantage by asking Fawiza out a few more times, enticing her with French food, community theater, and a Lord of the Rings movie marathon. She didn’t bite.

The progress bar completed and disappeared, and then the patch automatically rebooted CR3’s operating system. When the boot script finished, B-Bot CR3 swayed back and forth, whined loudly, then collapsed to the floor. Fawiza tapped madly at the keyboard, but CR3 did not respond.

“He’s completely locked up,” she said. “I’ve got basic operating system functions, but that’s all.”

The three of them went for coffee refills to discuss what to do next, but they were short on ideas.

“Why won’t you go out with me, Fawiza?” asked Blake. “I’m a fun guy.”

“You smell funny,” said Lalit.

Fawiza pointed her coffee cup at Blake. “If I go out with you, all my friends are going to look up your profile on social media, and they’re going to find out I’m dating a Star Wars trivia geek who plays Pokemon, loves ‘My Little Pony’ cartoons, and aspires to be the next Freddie Mercury. I can’t take that kind of humiliation, Blake.”

Blake stared at her blankly.

“Ouch,” said Lolit. “Good thing you didn’t post your One Direction lipsync vids.”

Blake held up a finger. “You might be on to something, Fawiza.” He dumped his coffee and raced to the test kitchen. He tapped at the keyboard, pulling up the root configuration file. When the other two caught up, he said, “We’ve been trying to adjust the command structure on this thing. But what if…” He tapped the down arrow key until he found the profile line. “Here it is.” He highlighted it with the cursor to show them: ‘profile=COLLEGE_STUDENT.’

“Ah, man,” said Lalit. “That would do it.”

Blake deleted ‘COLLEGE_STUDENT’ and replaced it with ‘PROFESSIONAL_CHEF,’ then restarted all the services.

B-Bot CR3 stirred to life, stood up, and spoke. “The program manager will be dining here tonight. He loves Thai food. I will put together a menu with Green Curry and Pad Thai. Do you have any requests?”

Fawiza shook Blake’s arm and squeaked a cheer. “You did it,” she said, and planted a kiss on his lips.


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