The Interview – Short Story

"When were you going to tell me we were hiring a robot?" Jack asked, as he walked into Steve's office. "First, she's not a robot…" "She? Don't you mean it?" Jack interrupted. "She is an android, one of the finest. Look, come see," Steve waved Jack over to his desk and pulled up an online catalog on his computer. The screen displayed a dozen photos of what looked like humans – each dressed according to the profession it represented. Jack moved the cursor to the top of the screen, clicked on "Professions," then "Attorney," "Associate," and finally "Research and Writing." "Voila!" exclaimed Steve. "Instant associate. Five to pick from. Abby, Bob, Carol, Dennis and Emma." Five headshots came up of what appeared to be five young associates you would find on any firm's website. Jack recognized Abby's photo. She was waiting in the lobby. "So, that's how you go about hiring someone? You pick them alphabetically?" "No, of course not. And that brings me to my second point. I haven't hired anyone. You're going to do that. All five models are coming in for an interview with you. You choose." "Me? Oh no. I'm not choosing between C-3PO and R2-D2." "What do you have against androids? All the big firms have them. Firms our size are starting to lease them. Bob Dylan was right. Times are changing. We don't change with them, we're going to sink like stones, and we can kiss this firm goodbye. Do you want to be stuck working for the big firms across the street? Because I don't." "What's wrong with hiring a human associate. With all these robots putting them out of work, there are plenty of qualified ones to pick from." "What's wrong with human associates? You already said it. They're human. You have to pay them health benefits, 401K, payroll taxes. They go on vacations, they get sick, they go to lunch, they socialize with each other. These androids – they come to work at 7 and leave at 9 and never once get up so much as to get coffee or go to the bathroom." "They're slaves basically." "If they were humans and you treated them that way you would call them slaves. But they're no more slaves than our copy machine which hums from dawn to dusk." "So I'm interviewing the equivalent of five blenders?" "The service has a money back guarantee. We get to test it out for 60 days. If at any point we are not completely satisfied, they'll take back the android and return our money. It's risk free. We owe it to this firm to try this. Firms all around us are doing this, Jack. Clients expect us to do it. If we don't, we won't be able to compete." Jack sighed. Steve smiled. He knew Jack had given in. "Ok, I'll interview her…it…whatever. Do we have a resume or anything for Abby?" "Resume?" Steve laughed. "Here's your resume – every case, statute, and law review article in Westlaw has been downloaded into her CPU. She has a database of over 250,ooo pleadings, motions and correspondence to work off of. She can research and write for 13 straight hours and not waste a single minute on Facebook. How's that for a resume?" "If this is good Steve, why am I feeling obsolete now?" Before Steve could answer, Jack walked out and went down the hall. Abby was sitting in his office, waiting. "So you're Abby?" She held out her hand and Steve shook it. Firm handshake, he thought to himself. "Yes, thank you for taking the time to meet with me. You must be Steve. I read all about you on your website and online." Steve walked behind his desk and sat down in his leather chair. "Yes, that's me. Generally, this is where I would ask you what you liked about law school and what your hobbies are, but that's not going to work, is it?" "I understand this must be a little uncomfortable for you, but I assure you that I am like any other associate. I look like one, dress like one, talk like one. Most folks can't tell the difference." "Abby, my loafers, I haven't broken them in yet, and they pinch my toes just a tad. They make me a little uncomfortable. This, what we're doing now, this creeps me out." "I'm really no different from any person interviewing for this position. I can talk about sports if you like." "You watch sports?" "Well, not exactly. All television programming is downloaded directly into my memory database so I can discuss news, sports, or pop culture with relative ease." "Yeah, just like any other associate. Abby, I can't ask you the typical interview questions, so let me ask you this. Why should I hire an android instead of a human? And don't tell me how much money you can make us. Tell me why you improve this place for the humans who work here." "You have kids, don't you Jack." "Two boys and a girl." "And the other two associates who work here, they have kids too?" "Yep." "And the partners, them too?" "Them too." "You like spending time with your three children?" "Of course." "And they do too?" "Yes." "Well, that's where I come in. How many little league games have you missed because of a work-related emergency? How often have you arrived home too exhausted to do anything other than plop on the couch and watch television?" "Too many." "You won't have to do that anymore. They won't have to do it anymore. And if you'll indulge me just a bit more. You use a computer, don't you?" "Yep." "And the other attorneys here?" "Yes, we all use them." "And you all use smartphones?" "Yes." "And smart pads?" "Yes." "And send e-mail?" "Yes." "Could you imagine not using these things?" "No, I couldn't." "And you agree, without them, you would be at a competitive disadvantage?" "Agreed." "Did you know when these thing first came out, most folks didn't think they were necessary? And yet now, they are indispensable." "So you're indispensable." "Well, that's entirely up to you. I can't be indispensable if you don't hire me." Abby smiled. "Consider me your laptop, smartphone, smart pad, and every other gadget you rely upon, all rolled into one." "On steroids." Abby laughed. "Yes, I suppose you can say that." "You, your kind, you're going to replace me one day, aren't you? Replace all of us?" "We're here to serve you, Steve. You, your kind, you created us, remember?" There was that smile again. She was right. The firm needed her. It had come to this. Steve buzzed the receptionist. "Shelly. Call the other candidates. Cancel their interviews. We have a new associate." Share this: Twitter LinkedIn Email Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Facebook Like this: Be the first to like this post.

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