Magazine | August 29, 2016, Issue

Customer Service Report 10.002.1

Ticket Number: 77

Customer states that current software build HRC Unit 4.4 works well in high-stress situations. Customer further states that HRC Unit 4.4 is working well and beyond promised capacity. Unit performed at a high 80% during Unit’s recent “Democratic National Convention” unveiling, and the new patches installed last month to limit the randomized, disconnected facial/emotional responses seem to be holding up. Unit’s internal software and installed firmware are interacting well with the living tissue that contains them, and Unit’s installed AI capacity to learn/unlearn behavior without engineering inputs seems to be operational.

(Customer states that Unit’s outsized physical and emotional response to the balloons dropped at the close of Unit’s unveiling at the DNC were the result of faulty instruction code installed by us, to which we agreed to open a ticket (#76) and negotiate a refund.)

Customer states that Unit is executing multiple instruction layers without bumps or restarts and has shown much-improved ability to communicate with human life forms without resorting to machine language. In addition, according to Customer, Unit no longer lunges inappropriately at humans as if to devour their life essence, and Unit no longer brays abruptly, “You will obey me! I am your leader!” These impulses are shuttled to the Approval-Required File and await execution commands from external operators on the campaign staff. These interfaces and their hardware connects are working flawlessly.

All of these successes are direct results of the newest build, which improves on 4.0–4.3 updates and fixes.

However: Customer is concerned that HRC Unit as currently configured in the 4.4 build is not equipped with instruction codes for execution of commands in the current environment. Customer states that current environment is “highly optimistic” and “extremely positive” and that has resulted in HRC Unit reacting and behaving without proper governors and second-level-response restrictions. Unit is currently behaving without customary sub-routines — “Paranoia Patch 2.0” and “Encourage Intra-Staff Infighting Protocols” and “Monitor and Manage the Media” (all three part of the initial build which we were not lead engineers on) — and without them in place and running, Unit runs the risk of overconfidence and complacency and burning out.

Customer understands that those are legacy clusters of software code and are not covered under our engineer-build-maintain contract. Customer further understands that we warned earlier that old, outdated instruction language from the 1990s could and probably would interfere with the new layer of operational control we installed. The HRC Unit is a very very old one and any attempt to “update” it — as we stated during contract negotiations — might reveal additional areas of deficiency.

Customer agreed with that assessment and agreed to a follow-on contract for new installation and firmware/software updates.

Customer understands the costs involved with this but is eager and somewhat anxious to begin. The Unit is behaving in such an uncharacteristic way that Customer is seriously concerned.

Currently, according to Customer, the HRC Unit is smiling widely with unusual and alarming sincerity and has been observed being nice to the staff. Customer states that Unit recently remembered the first name of a longtime staffer without resorting to external memory drive or a direct query. While this is, in some ways, the entire goal of the recent rebuild of the Unit (Versions 4.0–4.3 were designed to make interface more “human” and “lifelike”), Customer states that there is concern among Product Management team that Unit’s newfound success in opinion polls and recent focus-group research that rates Unit as “warm-blooded” and “almost normal” have led Unit’s Internal Processor into believing that she is now “liked” and “popular” with the target marketplace and not, as Customer states, simply that she is not as reviled and despised as her opponent.

Customer asks that we develop new patches and fixes to deal with this unexpected outcome and issue a timeline for their installation into the HRC Unit. Customer is aware that this will require a total shutdown of the Unit for as many as 7–10 days, but Customer responded that “lying low” is actually the current strategy anyway, as Unit’s opponent seems to be in throes of a suicidal meltdown, so 10 days’ system downtime is not a worry. When reminded about Labor Day and engineering-staff holidays, customer shrugged and said, “Take two weeks if you need it. We’re just letting the other guy shoot himself.”

Customer asks about rebooting time and was promised a two- to three-hour window of rebooting and reconfiguring the firmware. Customer asked if during shutdown it’s possible that we could develop software patches for the following old issues: the Cackle (see Ticket #3) and the Gratuitous Lie (see Ticket #1) and was told that we’re engineers, not magicians.

End report.

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