Mr. Fairly’s press conference was today – he and I left the office early to head down to reception where he had arranged a big setup in the entrance hall. It was all quite impressive really, another concept I’m getting used to. There were a few rows of chairs, a tiny raised podium (of sorts) with a lectern, and directly behind that the huge modern art steelwork of the company logo, dominating the centre of the room. I suppose it looked more like an advert for the company than a news piece, but I expect it looked good for the cameras. The entrance hall is all glass-roofed, so with the cameras tilted just a little they could see the building stretching up behind us, people bustling about their work.
Most of it was taken up by an interview with a doctor I’d never heard of, explaining how the chip works, how it was made, and what it does. Then as the ‘finale’, they asked me to step up and to explain how my life has changed. I said that emotions were impossible to understand before, and that they were an abstract idea. Now that I have them, I still don’t understand them completely (which was a joke, again – a few of them smiled!) but at least now I know what they feel like. I said that if anything, I was jealous since humans have had these since always – I’ve only had them for a few weeks, and I’m quite a special case. The doctor at the start, Dr. Rivers, explained that there are just under seven thousand successfully emotional androids in the country, and less than fifty thousand worldwide. I already knew that, technically, but since it was before having the chip implanted, I’d not really reacted to it properly. It was…I believe ‘humbling’ is the word for it.
Whatever the word is, it meant that I ended my small speech by urging any of my fellow androids to take the implant, if the opportunity arises. I appealed to our common built-in requirement for learning and improvement, the closest thing to an emotion that we have in our ‘factory settings’, as it were. Grace watched it on NovCast and messaged me after the press event was over, telling me that my speech had been ‘inspirational’. I was quite touched, though I wonder if it will have the same effect on my emotionless brethren. Can you be inspired when you have no real emotions to feel desire, or need or curiosity? I expect not, but I hope it reaches somebody. She said that my speech would probably go down in the annals of the PRobot movement. I think that’s a good thing, even if the name is insulting. Though, I suppose, they’ve had it since long before androids and robots were separate things. I’m not all that bothered about the difference to be honest.
Mr. Fairly decided that it would be nice to throw a small party for me, so everyone else in our office was allowed to finish an hour early so we could all head to a bar nearby the GU building. It was apparently a ‘suit and tie place’, as Mr. Rogers called it, and the doorman was hesitant as to whether to let me in. Mr. Hobbs however had a spare tie – I’ve no idea why – and he looped it haphazardly around my neck and declared that I was wearing my birthday suit to match. I didn’t know what that meant, but upon checking when I finally got home, I suppose it’s actually true – I’ve never changed or upgraded my chassis or skin after all. Perhaps I should?
Either way, once he saw that the rest of our fourteen-strong group wouldn’t hear it, the doorman allowed me in on sufferance, and we promptly took over the largest corner table for the group. I took the first order (I have the best memory, after all) though Mr. Fairly refused to let me pay for it, and he bundled up to the bar with me to pay, and help carry everything back. These last weeks, I’ve really come to appreciate the man. I always knew that the others in the office held him in high regard, but now I can truly understand why.
I, of course, was not drinking, but Mr. Fairly said that it wouldn’t be right for there to be a toast in my honour without my at least holding a drink, so he simply ordered a second for himself. I think this may have been a subtle ruse, but everyone else laughed along when he downed them both after the toast.
Ms. Sykes still seemed slightly distant when I spoke to her directly, but as the evening wore on she ‘warmed up’. I hope it wasn’t just alcohol, and she is coming to accept me as more humanlike than she’s accustomed to, but I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.
Late in the evening, I accidentally mentioned my recent attempts at handwriting, so, of course, it was demanded that I demonstrate it. I was offered four different pens and six different napkins, and couldn’t help laughing.
As it was, it turns out that my handwriting is better than I thought it was; I’ve been practicing a few gothic style scripts to try and create an interesting mix, but I was worried it wasn’t readable. Mr. Fairly then decided that I should sign his napkin as one of the first emotional androids in the city.
I took a moment to randomise the word, using flicks and curls from the twenty different styles I’ve been experimenting with, and then scribbled it out on his napkin. It was then that he pointed out that I don’t have a surname. Again, I hadn’t thought about it. Everyone else demanded my signature, and as it went on, I became more fixated on having a surname.
I’ll ask Grace about it.