Last Updated 5/15/2023 at 11:45 PM
Manhattan: In a cost-cutting move described as
Boomer Abuse Bold & Decisive, the New York Times decided today to replace longtime pundit Thomas Friedman’s weekly column with the transcripts of a Cairo Taxi Driver Chatbot. “This is really about eliminating the Middle Man.” explained editor Joseph Kahn. “For the last 40 years, Mr. Friedman has based 90% of his columns on the insights and wisdom of cabbies from Amman, Cairo, and Riyadh. Think of this as a more ‘farm to table’ approach to journalism.”
Ahmed is an affable, verbose, yet insightful cab driver who was created in a collaborative effort between Columbia University’s Middle East and Computer Science Departments. Ahmed still believes that he is speaking to his old friend “Mister Tow Moss from America” who he first drove in 1983 on the way to a birthday party for King Hussein hosted by Hosni Mubarak. Ahmed the chatbot has a chatbot wife named Heba and four University-educated chatbot daughters, leading to many conversations on the Status of Women in the Middle East that somehow always align amazingly close to Mr. Friedman’s point of view.
“We created Ahmed with the ability to produce hours of folksy homespun non sequiturs mixed with raw insights that are suspiciously close to Mr. Friedman’s own political beliefs and theories.” explained Alyssa Stevens, the lead programmer on the project. “Ahmed has read ‘The World is Flat’. He found it ‘derivative’ but doesn’t have the heart to say this to his cherished friend.“
Wishing to get to the bottom of this travesty of justice, the Daily Freier sought out Ahmed the Chatbot for a…. chat. Ahmed took us on a virtual ride from Cairo International Airport to our virtual hotel near the Nile. “Helloooo Tow-moss my friend!” bellowed a noticeably happy and enthused Ahmed. “Habibi, we must move away from Fossil Fuels and build a new Digital Arab Superhighway! We can call it Silicon Suez! This is a very good name, don’t you think, Mister Tow-moss?”
As Ahmed eased his way through traffic, he smoked a computer-generated cigarette and expounded on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in terms that again hewed amazingly close to Inside the Beltway Center-Left Conventional Wisdom. “Tow-Moss my friend, Bibi and the Israelis do not want peace. Bibi should have listened more to Obama and Bill Clinton. I still love Bill Clinton, Mister Tow-Moss!” Ahmed somehow made “Israelis” into a 7 syllable word.
As we left the cab, Ahmed wished good health and happiness for our family before leaning in closer and lowering his voice to an urgent whisper. “Tow-Moss, we must stop Bibi from copying Trump’s playbook and instigating a January 6th-style response to the Protests against Judicial Overhaul in Israel!”
Sources close to Mr. Friedman remain convinced that he will quickly recover from this professional setback as the Chatbot lacks the required Gigabytes of memory to truly mimic Friedman’s name-dropping capabilities.