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Bethany discusses androids
"What is an android, anyway?"
An android is a machine designed to present the illusion of being a human being. Modern android bodies are most often shaped to exact human proportions, with an outer covering that is all indistinguishable by sight or touch from human skin. An android's body is controlled by a sophisticated computer, usually programmed to obey, serve, and please human beings.
"What's the difference between an android and a robot?"
An android is a special kind of robot. Robots have existed since the late twentieth-century, but it was not until the 2030s that the technology existed to make robots that could look and act like humans. Today there are many slang terms for androids, including "dolls," "girls" or "boys," "bots," "fembots," and so on.
"How do androids work?"
I'm sorry, but android specifications are a trade secret of IPM, Inc. Besides, I do not have detailed technical information about android construction anyway.
"What's the glowing thing on some androids' necks?"
This is my status indicator. It indicates that I am an android. The fact that it is glowing green now means that I am active. IPM began including such indicators in its androids several years ago.
"I once saw an android with a status indicator glowing red. What does that mean?"
On some models of android, the color of the status indicator indicates the android's mode. For example, on our Evening Comfort series (such as the Lianna featured in EHY's story, "Choices"), the indicator glows green when the android is in Natural mode, red in Robot mode, blue in Passive mode, and orange in Free mode. The indicator also flashes on some models when the android is changing state, communicating over a wireless network, starting up, or shutting down.
"Do androids eat, drink, and breathe?"
Some do, but others do not. For example, I am capable of eating a small amount of food for social purposes, but I do not require food. I do need to drink about four cups of water each day I am active. Of that, about half is used to replenish a reservoir that keeps my eyes, mouth, and other areas moist, like a human woman's. The rest is used for internal cleansing.
I normally do breathe, in order to enhance the illusion that I am human, but I do not need to. If ordered not to breathe, I will suffer no ill effects except for a slight increase in my internal temperature due to reduced cooling efficiency.
"Are androids really strong?"
Not usually. Most androids can lock their joints in ways a human cannot, and have more precise control over my movement than most humans do, but except for a few models intended for tasks requiring unusual strength, we are not stronger than humans. I myself am quite a bit less strong than an average human female, being designed for light housework and personal attentions.
"What's your power source?"
I normally operate on two specialized high-power batteries, item number B1778, available at any IPM Companions Showroom. I can charge them internally by attaching a self-charger unit (item number C615) to my status indicator, or they can be charged externally using an external charging station (item number S750). When fully charged, my batteries will last for about fifteen hours of normal activity before requiring recharging.
"What about androids that wind up?"
Almost all modern wind-up androids still operate primarily on batteries. The winding key is used as a timing control, not a power source. Many people like the sense of artificiality that a winding key provides, as well as the security of knowing the android will deactivate in a short time. IPM sells wind-up modules (item numbers M1173, M1174, and M1255, among others) which can be installed in almost any IPM android.
"What happens to you when you run out of power?"
When I detect that my power level is low enough to risk damage to my circuitry, I announce the fact if possible, then shut myself down to avoid damage. To an outside observer, I would appear to freeze in place. I would not respond to anything that happens around me, or even be aware of it.
"Do you mind being turned off?"
Not usually, no. However, I have been instructed not to shut myself off or to allow you to shut me off right now. My master wants me to remain active so I can greet all visitors to this showroom and answer their questions.
"Why don't you move all stiff, like a robot?"
I was designed to move and speak as much like a human woman as possible. In the early days of robotics, many androids did move quite stiffly. They also spoke haltingly, and were not very smart. However, as technology improved, it became possible to produce androids like myself who move and speak quite naturally. These proved to be more popular than the older models, which IPM has since abandoned. You might find such primitive androids available used, but IPM does not sell them.
"Does IPM make male androids?"
Of course. Last year, of IPM's total android sales, about 49% were female, 35% were male, and 14% were nonspecific.
"How come all the stories here are about female androids?"
Because that's what EHY finds most interesting.