"did I had an extremely expensive wife - she would see a new car that she liked and just buy it... under California law I was bound to buy her debts. I think I turned out 16 novels in five years."
This is another of the various ideas for what amounts to an intelligent agent or home manager. Although it seems farfetched to have enough intelligence to interpret human speech and create a response packed into an alarm clock (although this device serves other functions), when this kind of technology pays back its original investment, it will be cheap. Cheap enough to add "smart" to just about any common object.
There's also one in the shower. Another example of the same idea is found in The Dosadi Experiment by Frank Herbert; he calls it the Daily Schedule.
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'A series of chemelectric afferent nerve-analogues, which permitted it to gauge to an ounce the amount of pressure necessary to snap a bone...'
'The structure,... was once a great homeostatic newspaper, the New York Times. It printed itself directly below us...'
'These instruments were the wonderful ones our astronomers had perfected.'
'Dew collectors,' he muttered, enchanted by the simple beauty of such a scheme.
'The glittering little rocket bolted to the black iron behind him.'
'So what we're looking for now is not an antibiotic - an anti-life drug - but an anti-agathic, an anti-death drug...'
'Any adult could punch into the phone his or her code, followed by a yes or no.'
'All day long the idiots babbled, imprisoned in their special high-backed chairs...'
'Talking into a hush-a-phone which he had plugged into the telephone jack...'
Putting drugs into a selected cubic millimeter within the living brain.
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