I’m a Robot

This evening, while sitting on the couch with my laptop, I challenged my wife to “program me” to pick up one of our son’s toys across the room. She gave me the “are you crazy look” and I explained that it would show her what it was like to program a computer.

Here are the logs:

Command: "Walk across the room and pick up the toy."
Response: "I don't know how to do that."

Command: "Put down you computer."
Response: "It is down (on my lap)."

Command: "Pick up the computer."
Response: "I'm holding the computer."

Command: "Put down the computer on the table."
Response: "I don't know how to do that."

Command: "Move your arms left."
Response: "Moving them left. (I start spinning in the chair, moving leftward)"

Command: "Not your whole body, just your arms."
Response: "OK. (I stop and hold the laptop off to the left of me, facing the wrong way in the chair.)"

Command: "Now set the laptop down on the table."
Response: "I don't know how to do that."

Command: "Put the laptop down!"
Response: "Ok. (I set the laptop on the ground)"

// "Oh my God! This is so annoying!"

Command: "Walk to the toy."
Response: "I can't do that while sitting."

Command: "Stand up"
Response: "Ok. (I stand up in the chair)"

// Seriously?

Command: "Walk forward."
Response: "Ok. (I walk off the chair in the general direction of the toy)"

Command: "Ok, stop. Stop!"
Response: "Ok. (I deliberately added in latency ;) and walked a bit too far)"

// This is so annoying!

Command: "Turn around."
Response: "Ok. (I start turning around in circles)"

Command: "Stop. Turn around and face the other direction."
Response: "Ok. (I lean back until I'm facing the other direction.)"

// Ok, I give up.

If you are a programmer, I challenge you to do this to your family members. It’s very enlightening for them to see how literal and explicit things have to be, and how annoying things can be when they don’t go as you expect.