Prim Look, when Trudi comes back I’ll get her to strip it down for you. She can peel it’s outer casing off, you can see for yourself. It’s just a lot of wires and circuits and micro-servos and – bits. In no way is it a person. And it’s actually quite bad of you to think of it as a person, Adam. It’s called actoid empathy. It happens. When we do our basic staff training, we do a day on dealing with actoids. Always refer to them as it, never as he or she. Never converse with them except strictly in the line of work. Never, never socialize. As soon as you’ve finished with them, switch them off. Otherwise you risk getting emotionally involved, you get all screwed up and you also screw them up and then you don’t know where you are –
Adam But if you’d heard her talking to me. The things she says –
Prim What it talks about, Adam – the words it uses – it’s so-called conversation – that’s merely an amalgam of all the conversations of all the characters it’s played in all the shows it’s ever been in. Its personality is nothing more than that. Every time you speak to it, you trigger some response. It pulls it out of its memory bank and blurts it back to you. That’s all it’s doing.
Adam Maybe that’s all any of us do.
Comic Potential by Alan Ayckbourn is a romantic sci-fi comedy play. It is set in a TV studio in the foreseeable future, when low-cost androids (known as “actoids”) have largely replaced actors.