Ten Signs Your Computer Has a Virus — Live-Tweeted Mystery “The Golden Parachute” Continues

Here are Week 144 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!



“It’s not really talking to us. These are canned responses someone programmed into the system.” “Really?” “Sure. What else could it be?”

The IVR says “I didn’t get your response. Please try again.” Regi whispers “It’s talking to us. What should we do?” I say “I’ve got this.”

I stand before the console “Do you mean get my response as in ‘understand’ or as in ‘receive’? Press 1 for understand. Press 2 for receive.”

Simultaneously Regi and the IVR say “What are you doing?” “Speaking IVR.” They both say “No you’re not!” “I didn’t get your response.”

Silence. Then the IVR says “2.” “OK. You didn’t get my response. Um.” Uh oh. I forgot the question. This IVR stuff is harder than I thought!

“Can you repeat my choices?” The IVR says “Yes.” Another silence. Regi says “I’m going to look for another way out.” “Wait. I’ve got this.”

On a whim I press *. The IVR says “You pressed *. Your dry cleaning will be ready Monday.” I press the # key. The IVR says “# you too.”

Regi says “Are we being pwned? The IVR acts like a person!” “I’ll try a Turing test.” “A what?” “A test to tell a computer from a person.”

“You’re a police detective. How do you know anything about a Detouring test?” “Turing, not detouring. Named after a computer scientist.”

“How does it work?” “I ask it a series of questions and by its responses I’ll know if it’s man or computer.” “Or phone answering machine?”

“An IVR is just another type of computer.” “We’re not talking to an IVR. There’s a person behind a curtain somewhere.” “Let’s find out.”

“IVR, are you there? Press 1 for yes, press 2 for no.” The IVR says “1.” “Are you human or machine? Press 1 for human, press 2 for machine.”

The IVR says “2.” “That settles that.” Regi says “No it doesn’t! A human could say that!” “IVR are you man or machine? The IVR says “2.”

“Asked and answered.” Regi pushes me from the console and types “Prove that you aren’t human!” The IVR says “Sorry. I didn’t get that.”

I say “You can’t ask it a direct question like that. A Turing question will catch it off guard.” Regi steps back and says “It’s your show.”

It’s my move. I need to know 3 things. What’s the IVR’s modus operandi? What’s its formal praxis? What’s this sticky stuff on the keyboard?

It looks like tapioca. “Did you sneeze on the keyboard just now?” “No. Why?” “Take a look.” Regi leans in then leans out. “Eww! What is it?”

Regi examines her fingertips. Finds nothing. Wipes them on my shirt anyway. “It wasn’t there a minute ago. What are you going to do now?”

“Let’s move to another keyboard.” We shift to the next server cabinet. That keyboard is also covered with ooze. I quickly close the door.

The third cabinet exhibits the same gooey contamination. Eyes watching from each monitor look bloodshot and rheumy. Then the IVR sneezes.

I say “What the hell is going on?” The IVR says “Sorry about the mess. I’m fighting a virus.” Was this just a ruse to avoid my Turing test? 


The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery

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