Mr Brian Harcourt of Mayfield, South Canterbury has just
invented a remarkable new computer product. This as yet unnamed
device consists of two small directional microphones and a
microchip. The microphones are attached to each side of the
monitor, and the chip is mounted inside the computer.
The microphones pick up any noises made by the computer operator and relay these to the microprocessor. After processing, a suitable
response is computed and played through the computer’s speaker.
Results were interesting to say the least, try whistling and the
computer will respond with a counter-melody. Shout obscenities
and it replies with “You could be arrested for saying that in
public. The software knows 600,000 words if the English language
(including the naughty ones). Some responses include “Shouldn’t
you read the instructions first ?”, “How would I know that, I’m
just a dumb machine” and “If you did that to your child they
would lock you up for eternity (which is a sod of a long time).
In fact it is possible to have a limited conversation with your
computer (but you probably know that already). Experiments at a
local secondary school have been generally successful. “This is
great” a teacher claims, “with this device I don’t have to answer
a lot of stupid questions all the time, the computer does it for
me. The problem is that some students will believe the computers
more than the teachers”. after some thought she added “I suppose
that we always talked to the computers, it’s just that they now
After several weeks of trials the project has been
abandoned because of complaints from the teachers union. They
think it could put them out of a job. Mr Harcourt has refused to
give up. He has taken his invention to England where he plans to
put his idea to Clive Sinclair.