“Who are you?” Manfred repeats suspiciously.
“Am organization formerly known as KGB dot RU.”
“I think your translatorâ€™s broken.” He holds the phone to his ear carefully, as if itâ€™s made of smoke-thin aerogel, tenuous as the sanity of the being on the other end of the line.
“Nyetâ€“no, sorry. Am apologize for we not use commercial translation software. Interpreters are ideologically suspect, mostly have capitalist semiotics and pay-per-use APIs. Must implement English more better, yes?”
Manfred drains his beer glass, sets it down, stands up, and begins to walk along the main road, phone glued to the side of his head. He wraps his throat mike around the cheap black plastic casing, pipes the input to a simple listener process. “You taught yourself the language just so you could talk to me?”
“Da, was easy: spawn billion-node neural network and download Tellytubbies and Sesame Street at maximum speed. Pardon excuse entropy overlay of bad grammar: am afraid of digital fingerprints steganographically masked into my-our tutorials.”
“Let me get this straight. Youâ€™re the KGBâ€™s core AI, but youâ€™re afraid of a copyright infringement lawsuit over your translator semiotics?” Manfred pauses in mid-stride, narrowly avoids being mown down by a GPS-guided roller-blader.
“Am have been badly burned by viral end-user license agreements. Have no desire to experiment with patent shell companies held by Chechen infoterrorists. You are human, you must not worry cereal company repossess your small intestine because digest unlicensed food with it, right? Manfred, you must help me-we. Am wishing to defect.”
I posted a link to this four years ago. Ran across it accidentally earlier today, it’s still a great fun short story.