In the near future…or maybe later today…a robot stands wavering next to a couple in a upper mid tier Asian fusion restaurant.
“Wait, what did you call them?” Stan quipped.
“How do you know? Did they self-identify?”
The robot stood there, still waiting dutifully for Stan and Emma to complete the order. It could not do anything until this happened. It was programmed to tilt its head slightly back and forth, or side to side, now and again to feign humanness, which it was presently doing. It actually didn’t need to turn its head. It could hear everything but wasn’t high enough of a model to even pretend to follow a human conversation. Or care. It waited because there was no ordering was complete yet. A cool breeze carried the sticky smells of teriyaki sauce across the restaurant, floating here and there out of the kitchen.
“It’s a robot Stan,” Emma said then exhaled loudly.
“I don’t care. You can’t mis-gender it.”
“It has a female voice. Close enough. Also, it’s not a person. Who the fuck cares Stan.”
“And what is a female voice exactly?”
“Like mine. Like my voice. Like my fucking, not-robot voice Stan. It’s a robot isn’t it?”
“You just said it. It didn’t self identify as it. You know Emma, I thought I knew you.”
“You didn’t self identify as an asshole but I’m calling you that now.” Emma turned to look at the robot. It had no expression. Stan never took Emma to places where they had the really fancy robots that had expressions. “How’s that?”
“Go ahead,” Stan deadpanned looking at the kitchen where there were no robots, but only low paid humans.
“Is that it for you all today?” the robot interrupted. It had a timeout for situations like this where there was no ordering.