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Author Topic: EP642: Oracle  (Read 1729 times)


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on: August 26, 2018, 11:54:59 PM
Escape Pod 642: Oracle

AUTHOR : Dominica Phetteplace
NARRATOR : Veronica Giguere
HOST: Tina Connolly


The two biggest applications for predictive software are killing people and selling things. Rita was quite successful at the latter. She founded a nail-polish-of-the-month club that used an online personality quiz to determine customer preferences. Bold cremes for basics, chunky glitters for the outrageous, and dark, sparkly metallics for edgy, forward-thinking geniuses like Rita.  Sales skyrocketed.

She used her money to start other subscription services: whisky-of-the-month, miniskirt-of-the-month.  What had started out as an online quiz morphed into something larger and more complex: a search engine that searched the customer.  It had tapped into a pent-up demand. People loved acquiring material goods but they hated making decisions.  Rita wasn’t just selling nail polish or whisky or miniskirts, she was selling freedom from choice.

Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!


  • Extern
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Reply #1 on: August 27, 2018, 05:16:54 PM
I love this one!  It was great from the very first line, and I just think Dominica did an excellent job of capturing that internal conundrum of wanting to be a good person, and making the world a better place.. but also wanting to have all the things and be fabulous :-)

As a computer programmer, I also appreciated the very real representation of the nature of the business whereby what you create is seldom used in the way you envisioned it, and the frustration that comes with that.


  • Lochage
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Reply #2 on: September 03, 2018, 07:55:31 PM
Great story! I've tentatively added it to my list of teaching material (see a 2014 thread somewhere else on this site).

The Trump references might not age that well, but it sure was quite funny in 2018.


  • Hipparch
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Reply #3 on: September 26, 2018, 02:22:06 PM
This was an interesting story. First off, let me say that I really enjoyed it, really. But I am kind of surprised that I did. The social commentary, including the Trump references, was handled sooo heavy handedly, that I should have hated this story. But somehow it seemed to work here, maybe because the satirical bent made even the heavy-handed commentary poke fun at itself? Even the Trump references could apply to a different-day self-absorbed, narcissistic leader. So, despite what should have been a glaring flaw for me, I found the story fun and enjoyable. Well done, I guess.


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Reply #4 on: September 27, 2018, 10:24:55 PM
I was kind of hoping that it would end more like "I Have No Mouth..." but then it didn't and that made it even funnier.

"To understand a cat you must realize that he has his own gifts, his own viewpoint, even his own morality."