Off-Campus Life

Area Subletter Fails Turing Test


By Breck Radulovic
April 20, 2017

Area Subletter Fails Turing Test Following her acceptance into a study abroad program in Vienna, University of Chicago second -year Allie Sullivan arranged to sublet her bedroom to Computer Science graduate student Alan Mitchell. Sullivan’s two other roommates, fellow second -years Carrie Wong and Patrick Anderson, immediately noticed something was slightly different about their Spring Quarter subletter.

Wong said she wanted to make Mitchell feel at home for his three month stay. “I asked him what his name was and what he was studying, to be friendly, ya know? But his answer was just so bizarre! He said, ‘The name that those around me call me is Mitchell, Alan. I am said to be studying the Computer Science at the University of Chicago, a top private research institution in Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.’ It sounded like he was reading off a poorly- assembled script!”

Wong chalked up this first eccentric interaction to Mitchell’s social anxiety, but later saw that something even more strange was afoot. When Anderson asked how Mitchell’s quarter was going, Mitchell replied, “Error in processing request. That information is confidential. Please ask at another time.”

The two roommates were perplexed by Mitchell’s odd behaviors, which included avoiding any contact with water. “We couldn’t tell if he hated us or if he was taking the weird Comp Sci major thing to a new level. We assumed his lack of bathing was just stereotypical bad hygiene. It wasn’t until he hid in his room for hours after Allie offered him a glass of water that we began to wonder if he had ever touched a liquid in his entire life,” Anderson said.

“The only time he ever seemed to relax was when we were all watching Westworld on the couch,” Wong said. Westworld, a series about hyper-realistic human androids, was produced by HBO in 2016. “He seemed really into those robots. I mean, it was a good show, but Alan wanted to watch it all the time!”

With two months left of Mitchell’s stay, Wong and Anderson have come to accept Mitchell’s quirks. “Even if he sometimes acts like a chatbot gone awry, he’s still fun to have around,” Anderson said, with Wong nodding in the background. “Besides, he knows the answer to everything! It’s like having Wolfram Alpha embedded in a roommate!”

Mitchell provided no comment to the Shady Dealer for this story. As of press time, he seemed to be stuck in a loop reciting Pi to all known digits.

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