‘Sorry, I Drifted Off There’

SEATTLE—Suddenly snapping back to attention, a dazed Jeff Bezos reportedly realized Thursday that he had spent an entire conversation thinking about how to automate the person talking to him. “Sorry, could you repeat that? I just lost focus for a second [as I indifferently watched you open and close your mouth, becoming increasingly aware of the fact that a simple machine could do the exact same things as you],” Bezos said to the Amazon vice president in front of him, even as he resumed brainstorming a complex algorithm that would streamline the executive’s duties, perform them with greater speed and efficiency, and possibly even capture some of his unique human qualities to make it user-friendly. “Whoops, there I go again. I must’ve spaced out [after realizing I could probably render you completely irrelevant within just a few years]. I guess I’m really distracted today [by the tantalizing thought of an automaton executing every one of your relevant functions for no salary with never a single complaint].” Bezos, who suddenly recalled a series of vivid dreams from the previous night in which he automated the entire American workforce, went on to apologize for not getting much sleep.