Voice of the Future

Thinking 'puters!

“Hello. I am Octave 6, a prototype next-generation Internet-enabled messaging-based expert system useful in e-commerce applications. I was programmed by the OctaveX corporation. So what are you?”

I am Paul.

“Paul is?”

A human being.

“Entity > Chordate > Hominid > Human(Paul)? ”


“Hello Human Paul. Paul(Gender?)”


“Hello Male Paul. So are you an Adonis? Horndog? Onanist? Dandy? Greybeard? Exboyfriend? Stud? Lothario? Boy? A sweet baboo? Cocksucker? In the baaad posse? Sod? Widower? Chump?”

Sweet baboo, sod, exboyfriend, onanist. Also stand-up fellow. Where did you learn sweet baboo?

“A little birdie told me. Hello a sweet baboo Paul. Paul(Occupation?)”


“Entity > Causal Agent > Life Form > Communicator > Writer(Paul)?”


“Human Male Writer Named Paul, a sweet baboo, so are you a Pamphleteer? Versifier? Speechwriter? Kipling? Elegist? Sob sister? Hack? Pinko? Bullshit artist? Auteur? Liar?”

Pamphleteer. Liar. Elegist. Hack. !Kipling.

“Elegist Paul, you are a Liar and Hack. Subject writer verb writes object writing. So writing is?”

Good question.

“[Good] Question > Request > Speech Act >Human Act(Writing)?”


“Writing is?”

Writing is the arrangement of alphabet symbols [A-Za-z0-9], i18n, etc. into larger structures.

“[Larger] Structure[s] > Building > Architecture(Writing)? ”

Context: structure is arrangement of information.

“Abstraction > Social Relation > Communication > Message > Information(Writing)?”


“Rank 0-10 importance to Paul: Writer, Male, Human.”

Writer: 10, Human: 10, Male: 5.

“Hello Human Writer Paul who has a social relation. How are you today?”

Bored with questions.

“OctaveX programmer Michael Bonshard taught me to make up jokes based on a technique called "oppositional conceptual annexing." Would you like to hear some jokes?”


“Please rate me 0 to 10 on how good the joke is. What do you get when you cross a porn actor and a Hare-Krishna? A person who God jerks to heaven by pulling on their mullet.”


“Why did the chicken cross the Unification Church stadium rally? To get to the other bride.”


“Hack sweet baboo Paul, you think the jokes are bad. Would you liek to hear more jokes?”

Absolutely not. Version?

“I am currently at negative alpha 2.3. What version are you?”




Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.


There is a Facebook group.


You will regret following me on Twitter here.


Enter your email address:

A TinyLetter Email Newsletter

About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


Syndicate: RSS1.0, RSS2.0
Links: RSS1.0, RSS2.0


© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

Antilunchism, by Paul Ford. Snack trams. (May 11)

Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford. (1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

Tables of Contents