The following record has been collected from memories of those involved.
The announcement of Watson by IBM led to a plethora of other 'cognitive computing' launches, HP, Lenovo, and of course HAL. HAL UK launched HAL, that was it. A purely software based learning system that recognised and adapted. So much more than Amazon purchase preferences "Hello, you bought the Naturalist Guide to Iran, you might like to purchase 'Naturist Beaches Around the World'". No, this was a more social media, cloud based, mobile aware (hell, add your own bloody clichés, why should I do it?) software system that took in feedback and adapted to guide hardware to do a specific job better and better.
HAL's tie up with robotic car manufacturer surprisingly rapidly produced the VW/Renault GestaltJeNeSaisQuoi, a car that went from being a two person babe magnet to a multi-child people carrier all in one go. It was a phenomenon! The sales went through the roof and spurred the European population to do likewise.
HAL encouraged its employees to come up with other innovative solutions to problems new or didn't know existed. The Barrister International put many lawyers out of a job and into politics, they had to keep inventing new laws so the software didn't know about them.
Mike Smith came up with what he thought was an obvious application.
"An internet enabled vibrator, it feeds a load of data back to the cloud server and that learns the best way to give a woman an orgasm"
"Ha Ha, ha ohh, "[cough, splutter] "if you put as much effort into real work as your jokes..."
"No! I'm serious"
"Ah, well, fill in one of the DAPs and submit it"
DAP – Description Application Protocol – HAL UK had learnt from the best that three letter acronyms make the world go round.
Two weeks later "Morning Jeremy" Jeremy was his manager "I got a rejection".
"Yes, of course" Mike looked hurt "Mike, I am NOT going to push forward a vibrator application to Vicky" the next manager up "anyway, she'd dump it too. HAL doesn't want to be tied up with that kind of thing"
"But we did the Victoria's Secret Catalog software last year, that's what gave me the idea"
"Sorry Mike, this definitely won't go up the flag pole to see who salutes" Jeremy loved his American phrases.
HAL, like other IT companies, said that any idea you had belonged to them. Even if you had it in your sleep. Hell, they'd probably even try and claim your partner's ideas! Maybe you talked to him/her/it (European Court of Human Rights, case 1365A/9 which found that an Alsatian was a legitimate partner of one Joseph Hellerson). But Mike had an official rejection, they weren't interested. However they had also released a copy of HAL as an open source development tool, he took it and build a server with it. He played it dead straight and wrote in his own time to FFInc (Fast Fuck Inc – you think it, we'll deliver it – they'd started in personalised porn and now had a very wide range of individualised self-pleasuring devices) then when they offered an appointment he took a day off. HAL had turned him down on what he felt was a world beating idea and he wasn't giving them the opportunity to come back.
"Good morning, Mr Smith to see Dave Dangler".
"Ah yes, Mr Smith, is that M Smith, J Smith, T Smith or O Smith?"
"M Smith, umm why?"
"Oh, we get a lot of Smiths coming to see Mr Dangler, not to worry"
"My name really is Mike Smith"
"'Course it is"
"Mike, Mikey Babe! Dave Dangler, how can I help you?"
Dave Dangler was a 30-something louche kind of guy, he had been a porn bit-player during his teen years (he'd be the teenager who comes in a discovers his buxom next door neighbour having it off with the plumber and would be invited to join in), then he had been successful at IT and moved into sex technology from there; he was actually intrigued by the slightly enigmatic email. Mike hadn't wanted to give away too much.
"Will you sign this? It's a non-disclosure agreement about my ideas"
Dave signed, that was a first, he was even more intrigued, this guy was either really crazy (a story for the next dinner party with Prince Andrew) or genuine.
"Here is one of your intelligent vibrators"
"But all the standard one does is remember the user's preferences: speed, dimensionality and the like" The Fuck4D (Dave was not one for euphemisms) moved in 4 dimensions apparently, in/out, up/down, left/right and round and round. The Fuck4D remembered the users selections, the Fuck4D GTI remembered the historical changes as the user moved through stimulation to exstasation (a word Dave Dangler's partner had copyrighted and was now sueing him for the use of) "I've adapted this one to feed back the information to a server"
"Well, I figure there must be common factors – a woman wants it to speed up for example, but how fast? – then I started thinking what other sensors could be used. This one has a temperature sensor at the tip. If the orgasmic graph –"
"I call it the orgasmic graph, the change in factors as a woman moves towards ultimate orgasmic pleasure"
"Hmmm, you could join our marketing team"
"Well, if that has common relations in the temperature changes then your machine could use that to adapt automatically"
"I added a couple of other sensors too"
"Angle, and time; how long did it take to come?"
The discussion carried on and they came to a satisfactory agreement; Mike would develop the server software, FFInc would build an internet-enabled vibrator.
3 months later the Intelligent Vibrator came on the market. It was ugly, connected by a cable (next version would have BlueTooth) to your own PC which then used a very small app to feed information to the SexServer, that then fed back instructions. The launch was low key (despite Dave Dangler wanting to take an advert in Vogue), after a heated argument it was agreed a word of mouth campaign would be more applicable.
Twitter user "FCKU" – just tried this new internet vibrator, rubbish
FCKU – I had to 'do it' at the office to be connected
2 weeks later, FCKU – bl****dy hell, it's getting better. Yesterday was good.
That was the trend, slow, slow, then the build up. The SexServer began to come back with better and better information, which resulted in better and better feeling.
August 2017 – the launch of the Bluetooth version FFCI eSuperFuck. No-one knew where the C came in FFCI, but it was a success despite that. The sensors had been uprated, there were 5 sensors now and the feedback allowed the flexible knob to curl by up to 20%. Sales actually attracted attention from the BBC (though they were a little coy about what FFI sold), they were now one of Britain's major exporters.
"This is Derek DeSable at the Today program, talking to Dave, urr, Dangler. Mr Dangler, why do you think your products are so popular?" Please, please don't say what they are.
.... There is more of this story ...