BOFH: An 'AI PC' for an Acutely Ignorant user

The Boss won't know the difference

BOFH logo telephone with devil's hornsEpisode 11 The Boss wants an AI PC. This wouldn't rankle as much if the Boss had any "I" of his own to work with, but in reality he has no idea of what he wants to do, nor how he might want to do it. He simply believes that AI machines will, via an AI "radioactive spider bite," give him managerial superpowers.

The PFY and I both know that he'll never use AI, and that any form of Copilot is pretty much worthless when there's no actual pilot. As a use case for technology, it's only slightly less bad than a driverless car.

Apparently, the Boss plans to "use the AI to enhance business interactions" by weeding out his communication shortcomings.

"We may need a more powerful machine," the PFY responds when the Boss mentions it.

And now, because the Boss has been asking around vendors, we're getting unsolicited information about their hardware. And vendors being vendors, they know how to get onto the bandwagon quicker that a mid-'90s Gun 'N Roses groupie.

The offers are coming thick and fast, the urgency likely being driven by the desire to make a sale before there's any real indication about what an AI PC actually is.


"I don't see the problem," the PFY comments when I rage about it later.

"Apart from it being a waste of cash?" I ask.

"Hmm. Although ..."

"?" I respond.

"We could ..."

"Oh, you mean supply him an 'AI' machine instead of an AI machine?" I ask.


"What are you proposing?"

"Just get a refurbed desktop polished up and redetailed, have the refurbishers laser etch "AI+" in big letters on the front, then just turn on all the autocorrect, grammar, and autocomplete options on his Microsoft Office apps."

"Yes, yes, I think that might just work. We could even add a Copilot license."

"But to make especially sure, we'd need to add a visual indicator to prove that it's an AI machine."

"You mean the 21st century equivalent of a 'Turbo' lamp?"

"That's exactly what I mean," the PFY nods.

Several days later and the Boss is very happy with his new "AI" PC. The 'AI engaged' lamp got him over the line in terms of excitement. It was a relatively simple process of drilling a 0.5 mm hole through the thickest part of the front panel, then hot gluing a purple LED inside. After that it was a matter of moments to hook the LED up to the disk activity connector and move the disk activity LED to the power-on connector.

And the Boss loves it because (as we explained) purple is the color of AI working.

His enthusiasm for Copilot tapered off about halfway through a dull-as-dishwater promo video from a Redmond sycophant – but on the plus side he did wake up refreshed. He then also asked us to help "calibrate the AI" (i.e. turn off the autocompletes) so in the end he pretty much has the same machine he used to have, albeit a little slower.


The inevitable happens after the Boss brags about his new technology over several lunchtimes – we have four new middle managers in the building who'd like to get the upgrade to AI – but luckily they're at the same intellectual level as the Boss. I order a whole packet of purple LEDs for future use.

"I've been hearing a bit about Recall," the Boss chips in. "Could we set that up?

... one USB webcam later ...

"And ... uh ... how does this work?" he asks a day later.

"Well, unlike the Microsoft version, which costs thousands of pounds in licensing fees and sends all your viewing habits to East European hackers," the PFY lies, "this one takes a photo and saves it into the snapshot folder on your desktop."

"And so how do I review my work?" he says.

"Just open the Snapshot folder on your desktop," the PFY says.


"There's hundreds of them!" he gasps, looking at all the icons.

"Yes, they're all timestamped. When did you want to go back to?"

"10:15 – or thereabouts."

"And if you scroll down a bit, and ... >clicky< ... there are ... three snapshots in the five minutes around then. >clickety<"

"It's a photo of my face!"


"Isn't it supposed to be of the screen?"

"No, that would be a security risk. But your screen's reflected in your glasses."

"Can you zoom in?"

"Well, again, no, because of security."


"Yeah. To prevent a 'hacker' going through thousands of 2 megapixel photos of your face to break into our systems."

"So what's the point of Recall?"

"Realistically? About the same as an ejector seat for a helicopter. Still, if you got dementia you could remember your ... mediocre years."

"So it's just taking photos of me?" the Boss asks.

"No, it's taking videos of you. Then it extracts a frame from the video and sends it to your folder – unless you trip over your dustbin and faceplant the wall like you did this morning. THEN it sends the video to YouTube."

"On the plus side," I say, "as of this morning you've got 27,000 followers."

"So you're just using AI to ridicule me?"

"No, that's your YouTube subscribers," I reassure him. "We just use AI to post videos, saving us having to watch you eight hours a day until you do something stupid."

"Like when you spilled that hot coffee on yourself."




"Oooh, 27,001 subscribers!" the PFY burbles.

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