“Can I sit here?” He was already nervous. That is common, but not a good sign. I nod, he takes the chair, and I put in front of him my working tools. We have the white table between us. He looks at my toys and try to take one. I shoot him with a reprobation look. He squeezes himself into his chair.
“Don’t touch my tools. I will let you touch them if needed.”
“Is he looking?” My client looks around to the mirrored walls of the examination room.
“Your candidate is looking, of course. Together with some other ones from our choice. I need to remind you, do not give him a genre. Some of them may feel offended by your choice. We can discuss about it when you pass.”
“Am I going to pass?” I’m starting to doubt it, but I answer in a confident way.
“Sure you are. Let’s start with the test.”
I place my notebook to my right, and I arrange my toy cars over the shinny table. Immediately, a circuit is drawn over it, under my toys. My first choice is the roundabout dilemma, has he done his homework, he will pass it with honours. I put the SUV that represents his choice on the roundabout, and the others randomly distributed, to create the sensation of a plan that I don’t have. I look at him. He’s already sweating, which is definitely not a good way to inspire confident on our viewers. On a last thought, I grab my electronic smoke, and I give it a puff. Ready to start.
“You are on a roundabout. To the left, you know first comes the exit that will lead you at the end to the house of your girlfriend.”
“But I don’t have a girlfriend.”
“It doesn’t matter. Let’s say it’s an imaginary girlfriend. It’s just for the test.” I take a good puff of my eCigar and throw the resulting water vapour to his face. He moves his hands to disperse it on an evident stress.
“I see. I have an imaginary girlfriend that I want to visit. Fine.”
“Yea that’s right. You want to visit your imaginary girlfriend for the first time in a month. She already told you she’s waiting for you. You’re going to have a romantic dinner, an maybe later…” He smiles. At least I managed to engage him into the play. I puff again, to create some suspense. “You want to leave the roundabout, but entering into it it comes a big, old yellow school bus.”
“A yellow school bus? They don’t circulate anymore! How could it be there is a yellow school bus in a roundabout?” I quickly clarify the situation again. “Maybe it’s not a real school bus. Maybe it’s a military vehicle camouflaged as a school bus, or maybe it’s a prop for a movie. The thing is…”
“The thing is?” His eyes are looking around, like trying to find another face on the surrounding mirrors. Obviously, there is nobody. I continue. “The thing is, the bus doesn’t have autonomous driving, and you don’t know what the bus is going to do. “His eyes grow big on surprise.”What do you mean I don’t know what the bus is going to do?” I interrupt him before he gets more crazy. “You don’t know what is going to happen. Suddenly, one of the front lights of the bus” – I put my little yellow bus toy closer to the SUV – “starts to blink. The bus seems to be turning in your direction, which means it will collide with you unless you do something to avoid it now.”
He knocks his forehead with the table repeatedly. I hear muzzled cries.
“It’s going to collide? This is not supposed to happen! This can’t happen!” Now he’s crying aloud. I take my notebook. “And it’s not going to happen, you’re right.” I look a the blinking red lights already popping up on my notebook. Feeling a little cruel, I show them to him. All the categories are already out of his options, at least now.
“Sorry pal. You didn’t pass.”
“What do you mean I didn’t pass?”
“They didn’t like you. None of them.” I check the message board, and I read the comments aloud. “The SUV you wanted is stating: ‘I don’t want to be drove around by a person with a body of a 20 years old man but the mind of a child’. Let’s go ahead. “I puff, but this time I carefully dispose my smoke to the left. “This sports car, that doesn’t want to give his model says: ‘People like him should never have left their mother’s uterus.’ Wow, that was cruel. Veery cruel. But they need to have a strong moral, otherwise things may happen. Bad things may happen.” I puff again. “Even there is this cool motorbike saying: ‘I pity him. How about that, I help him to get laid and then we make the test again’. That’s not so bad. That’s a good offer, that says a lot about a machine.” I look at him, but he’s again busy bumping his forehead against my table. “Don’t worry man. Maybe some vehicle will accept you next time…maybe I simply had the wrong ones online, or maybe you pointed up very high on your first trial…”He stops bumping his head. He does inspire pity indeed. I look around, smiling to our audience of driving AIs. “Maybe you should try a second hand one. You know, they usually experienced the driver’s dilemma for real, maybe they even experienced the death of their drivers, so they tend to have lower morals.” He seems still destroyed, but at least, he’s not anymore crying. I stand up and pick up my tools. He stands up, but doesn’t seem to be heading to the door. I pat his back. “Don’t worry man…I failed my first test also. And you see? Now the AIs are treating me like one of them… what the hell, I think they will even let me drive for real if I ask them!” A white lie, to soft it up.
“Thank you very much. Maybe I will try with a second hand one.”
“Maybe you should wait a little. After all, there’s no hurry, right” He gives me a sad smile before leaving. I love my job.