I've spent a great deal of time this month working on a piece of Java software. Nothing too special, just a name generator for a worldbuilding project of mine (helps prevent bias in name creation that I might have if I did it myself. Having a couple arrays of valid prefix and suffix syllables concatenate is much, much faster in the long run.)

I spent dozens of hours looking for one error, and when i found it, it was a five second fix. It was infuriating. If I had read through my code line-by-line, I never would have had that problem . . . or maybe I would have, who's to say?

There's a practice known as 'rubber duck programming' in which a person will read through their program and explain it to a rubber duck that sits on their desk as though the rubber duck is a person who does not know a single thing about the program. They will take time explaining it in detail, line by line. They generally discover the bugfix in the process that their eyes had skimmed over somehow. The only problem I have with that is my ambition. I want more than a rubber duck.

I want something that will listen to what I say and respond . . . or, at the very least, listen and parrot rational-sounding gibberish.

The answer? Gutting a furby and shoving some java machine learning in a Rasberry Pi (a type of chip that's like a mini computer).


- be freed from its shell. gutted. frightening. robotic. pure of all sin. mechanical looking. scary.
- Speech to text. Save absolutely all speech it hears to a text file. When someone starts speaking, it starts recording. Upon ten seconds of no speech, it saves it to a file. I would likely use some open source stuff on some online repository and modify it for my needs.
- Formulate its own speech based off a composite of all the input it has received. Take a composite or somehow parse the input files and use the said composite to mimic the input speech. I would take a voice engine from an open source repository or just buy a good one. I might modify a male drone-esque voice to have pan reverb and chorus effects over it.

Come black friday, I will scour the online markets for a furby, a soldering iron, and a camera to document the experience on.