Bob the CS doll

part of the Career Guide for Engineers and Computer Scientists by Philip Greenspun

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There was a time at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory when certain staff members were urging others to telephone Mattel and protest their talking Barbie doll. One of the 200 things Barbie could say was "Math is Hard". Although I personally would have found such a doll comforting during my undergraduate years, it seems that Mattel was eventually forced to recall this product.

In an effort to reach out to my sensitive colleagues who were concerned over this Barbie, I sent the following message to the entire lab:

I'd like to urge everyone to call (800) 555-1212 to protest Bob, the
new talking "CS grad student" from Fast Buck Toys.

Bob's 200 statements perpetuate numerous false stereotypes about
computer science graduate students.  Here are some samples:

"I didn't understand 18.597"

"Oral Exams are Hard"

"I like Coke and Oreos"

"I won't wear that Armani suit.  Can I have a flannel shirt and leave
one tail sticking out instead?"

"I don't have enough money to buy a [house, car, shirt, book, meal, pencil]"

"Am I free Friday night?  I think so, I haven't had a date in 10
years.  Wait, let me check the LSC calendar to see if they are showing
Star Trek."

"I hope McDonald's is still hiring when I finish my Ph.D."

Of course, there are those who take a scholarly approach to Barbie. Finally, there are those who would experiment with Barbie.