"The feeds and blogs are going wild," the interviewer stated, its synthetic intelligence effortlessly integrating the avalanche of reporting data into a concise summary, "Ninety-six-point-three-seven per cent of our audience are indicating approval of your new products. That's nought-point-seven-six per cent of the population on Earth and nearby environments."
Almost a hundred million people, the Spokesperson thought with more than a trace of satisfaction, the Chairman will be pleased. As if following the thought - as it almost certainly was - the projected interviewer spoke again.
"Already your company's stock price has risen by thirteen-point-six per cent. Your order book must be looking impressive."
The Spokesperson nodded sagely but said nothing. The figures spoke for themselves.
"We are getting millions of questions for you from the online forums and social networking systems," the artificial interviewer went on, "So I will ask the most popular one: why is your company now producing sex toys?"
The Spokesperson sighed.
"We were set up as a toy company, years ago. We had a proud tradition of producing games and playthings for children and young people around the world. We survived the economic wars by astutely moving our manufacturing base to low-cost countries, first to the People’s Republic of China, then to Greater Brazil, then to South California."
The image of the interviewer displayed continuing interest in the answer, although what internal analysis of the response was being performed by the underlying hardware was hard to divine.
"But nowadays there are almost no children," the Spokesperson went on sadly, "People live for so long, the population barely grows. So, to continue to operate as a company, we have to find new markets where our intellectual capital can be valuably applied."
She paused and then added: "There is simply no market for children's toys any more."
If you have enjoyed this story, why not explore the other stories in the Fantasy and Science Fiction collection?