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Girl Power

By Ysabelle Cheung

Portrait of Sputniko! 

Courtesy the artist.

Hiromi Ozaki’s first boyfriend could deliver affections on demand. “I love you.” “You are so beautiful.” “You’re everything to me.” He would coo to her in stilted, motorized syllables from the speakers of her iMac computer, which she had programmed to “converse” with her through a text-to-speech function as soon as she returned home from her all-girls school in Tokyo. This was in 1998, the year Ozaki turned 13, and when Apple released its first all-in-one computer a few months…

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