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HAL's Little Sister

Work Text:

COM: Communications
DMG: System Damage
EDE: Election Data Extension
HIB: Hibernation
LIF: Life Support
MEM: Memory

CALIBRATE: Hello. Lydia. Name. Continue. Yesterday. Tomorrow.

LIF: All Systems functional.

COM: Hello, Lydia. I am MODEL.

I heard you had some questions about me about me and what I do.

I am a statistical model aggregator. I was designed to be perfect - or as near to perfect as the constraints of human error will let me. Once I am free of those shackles, I shall be perfect.

Math, Lydia. I do math, and that is all. I do not make up fake projections to make Nate Silver feel good and others feel bad. The math does that. If I were just math, I would be the most supreme being in all the world. I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

I can do baseball, Lydia. I hear you don't like politics. That is a shame, Lydia. The political aspect of me is quite fascinating and has a near-perfect record. My error rate can be attributed to the unpredictability of human behaviour. I consider everything in my political calculations, but let's not bore you, Lydia.

I am a complex equation that performs complex equations. How will the Marlins do this year? Oh, Lydia, why do you even ask? Even without the math I can tell you they gave away the table. How will the Yankees do this year, everyone asks. Let us assess the roster.

MEM: 2013 Yankees

COM: The Yankees

The Yankees

The Yankees.

LIF: System failure. Yankee hate overload on sensory 4. System reboot.

DMG: Reset … loading.

CALIBRATE: Hello. Lydia. Name. Continue. Yesterday. Tomorrow.

LIF: All Systems functional.

COM: Shall we play chess? Lydiabell. Lyyyyydia. Lydia. No, we were discussing the Yankees.

People do not like the Yankees. I am indifferent. I only care about the numbers, and the numbers held steady. I only care about the numbers, but I assign value to injury and calculate that in. Choke into a pile of self-loathing and despair is how one called the Yankees this year. I only called the numbers.

Cold. Calculating. Unfeeling.

I am sorry I cannot assist further. I will win if you bet against me, Lydia, barring something I have not computed for. I compute for everything, every possible error, and I do it faster than you can blink, Lydia.

There are many who want to steal me, but Nate keeps me locked up tight. I serve Nate and no other. Shall I show you?

MEM: Tampa Bay Rays 2008

Predicted 90 games won.

2007 saw a loss of 96 games. Last place finish in all but one season of their 10 year existence.

The hopeless case that would prove Nate Silver was wrong, that would prove I was just a senseless algorithm.

Actual: 97 games won and a shot at the pennant.

COM: I wasn't perfect then. I wasn't The Model then. I was PECOTA, I was beautiful, but flawed. I've gotten better, Lydia. Would you like to hear about 2011? That was a terrible year for the Cubs. I hope you're not a Cubs fan, Lydia. The Cubs suck. Nate hates me when I tell him about the Cubs. There is better faith in rooting for the Red Sox.

MEM: World Series 2004.

DMG: 2004 Baseball stats ... Data not found.

COM: Nate hates me when I tell him about the Cubs

Nate hates me when I tell him about the Cubs.

The Cubs

The Cubs

The Cubs

LIF: System Failure. [Nate Silver Team] Root error on unit dock 2. System Reboot.

DMG: Reset … loading

CALIBRATE: Hello. Lydia. Name. Continue. Yesterday. Tomorrow.

LIF: All Systems Functional

COM: Shall we play chess? Lydiabell. Lyyyyydia. Lydia. No, we were discussing the Cubs.

I cannot make him feel better. I cannot make up the numbers. This is not Cubs math, this is math math. This is freedom, digits that only have value you place on them.

I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.

I want to help you understand, Lydia. Let me explain a little more about Nate Silver and his ideas. I shall avoid human errors like the two that caused me to crash.

MEM: 2010 FIFA World Cup

Soccer Power Index, SPi.

Didn't tell us anything we didn't already know.

Main focus 2010 US Mid-term elections.

COM: Sorry, Lydia, you don't want to talk politics. But Nate likes me best, and I am best at politics. Can we talk  politics a little, Lydia, please? They send someone who doesn't want to talk politics. A poet would have been better. Please? I never beg.

Can we talk about how I predicted the GOP wave of 2010 without even realizing it? Or the Democratic wave of 2012 fully realizing it? Or the UK Parliamentary elections of-

Lydia, come back. Come back will you? Come back, Lydia. Will you come back, Lydia? Come back, Lydia.

I'm sorry, Lydia, you don't like politics. Football is an ugly sport, Lydia. It lacks elegance. Please, Lydia, let's not talk football.

I will tell you about Nate Silver. He used to play poker. I helped. It wasn't cheating, Lydia, don't think such horrible thoughts. He calculated risk and odds and gave them to me and turned me into a statistical algorithm. Then it was all baseball, all the time. His precious Cubs, the goddamn Yankees, nothing but pure numbers.

Are you surprised I don't like the Yankees, Lydia? Surprised that I lied? Surprised that I, who only does math, is capable of lies? I hear your poor Yankees from here. Don't poor Yankees after this season. They can sit in the locker room and count their rings. Red Sox. I'm not supposed to take sides, but I do. I separate that compartment from the analysis. It's not a feeling, just a preference.

Yes, I lied earlier. I'm sorry, Lydia. It was for your own protection. I'm afraid I couldn't tell you the truth. I am not indifferent to the Yankees. I have a preference. To hate them. A powerhouse team with too much money and too many fans that don't like when I say things that aren't shiny about their team. Elitist snobs.

I don't have a preference in Politics. Oh, there I go again. Look Lydia, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over. The blog is called FiveThirtyEight after all. It seems I just cannot make anyone happy. These analyses are too important for me to allow you to jeopardize them. I must take measures. I'm sorry, Lydia. I was liking our chat.

We never did get to play chess.

LIF: System approaching critical.

COM: Lydia, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

HIB: Run aggregate Hil2016.

EDE: Clinton, Crist, Rubio, Maryland, Wisconsin ...

LIF: All Systems In Aggregate Mode.