The Human Touch

"That couch," observed the salesperson, "is twice as smart at being a couch than you are at being a person."

It was a somewhat insulting thing for an IKEA salesperson to say, but I was in Paris and they had stereotypes to maintain. Besides he had a point. I didn't know if it was something in the subtly adjusting angles, the temperature of the leather, or what, but it was comfier than I had thought possible a couch could be, and after a few minutes it surely knew more about my physical and emotional state than myself. It was also purring almost inaudibly, I realized, and I knew I was going to buy it.

"I'll take it."

"Of course you will," said the salesperson. He presented me with a tablet so, I noticed, I could enter my fingerprint authorization without having to leave the couch and risk changing my mind.

I made a thumbs-up sign at him. "This couch might be smarter than me, but some things still require a human touch."

Either the sales AI found no response to that, or simply whispered on the salesperson's ear to smile thinly and insincerely, because that's what he did.

My own smile wasn't much better. On my way out, I told my phone to remind me to look for a new jokes app.