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"The Perfect Man"

Via Boing Boing, a science fiction short story, "The Perfect Man", from Lauren McLaughlin (link here, watch the ad to read the story for free). A woman orders an AI "lover", made to her specifications:

As for Mr. Dreamboat's personality, I had two options: I could allow AI4U to mine my Web habits, construct a psychological profile, and design my boyfriend's personality to match. Or I could tell them in one hundred words or less exactly what I wanted. I chose the latter. I'm no privacy freak, but I didn't want someone spying on my subconscious. Plus, when it comes to men, I know what I want. I don't need some faceless software shrink hypothesizing about it.

I began with a firm list of no-nos culled from the rogues' gallery of losers I'd dated over the years. Anyone bossy, intolerant, macho, repetitive, nosy, bookish, vain, foppish, anal, whiny, bipolar, fickle, sexist, nihilistic, or judgmental need not apply.

But I didn't want Mr. Dreamboat to be defined by negatives, so I dredged the muck of my romantic archives for desirable traits. They were scant. There was Peter's reliability. He said eight-fifteen, he meant eight-fifteen. James, despite the love handles and a wife in Greenwich, had initiative up the wazoo. Then there was Billy Sebert, who made me a papier-mâché model of his heart in sixth grade. That was sweet.

So on the plus side I had reliable, initiative-taking, and good with papier-mâché. That felt slim, so I added quick-witted, fun-loving, and emotionally balanced. For good measure I threw in the ability to rhyme at will, a passion for Shakespeare and an inexplicable love of the color orange. Why not, right? When I hit Send, a pop-up told me I'd hear from Mr. Dreamboat in forty-eight hours.



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