A distorted, electronic voice has been talking to me through my headphones all day as I worked.

"Your webcam showed me your face. I LOVE what I see."

"You should be a poster child for poster children."

"Please eat me. I wish to be digested by you."

These slightly-creepy compliments are coming fromĀ a program running on my desktop, Electric Love Potato, a buzzy new application created by video game designerĀ Nathalie Lawhead.

Lawhead is the creator of severalĀ freeware games,Ā such asĀ those in Tetrageddon Games. ButĀ Electric LoveĀ Potato isn't quiteĀ a game, or if it is, I'm not the one playing it.

On her website, Lawhead describes the program as "a virtual potato desktop assistant that offers positive reinforcement, serenades you as you work, and creates random potato recipes."

Potato is sort of like Clippy, the Microsoft Office mascot of days of yore. It sits on computerĀ desktops and watches everything the userĀ does with an occasional animation to show it is paying attention. It lacks any actual utility, although its arguable whetherĀ Clippy did either. And Clippy never sang toĀ its users, althoughĀ if it did, it might sound like Potato.



The auto-tuned voice of Potato is what makes it feel creepy. It evokes the science-fiction trope of the rogue artificial intelligence. Whether itsĀ HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, or glaDOS fromĀ Portal,Ā something about a computerized voice saying everything's going to be okay convinces me of the opposite.

Lawhead wrote thatĀ she created the program to help cheer her up when she's feeling depressed.

Something I can just run in the background to cheer me up (with itā€™s steady stream of compliments and silly songs)ā€¦ As a little depression medicine. :) ā€¦As much of a reason something like this needs, to exist. I donā€™t think it needs a reason. Pointless ridiculously dumb ideas are the best!


Electric Love PotatoĀ is a free download for Windows and Mac computers. It ran fine in emulation on my Linux laptopĀ as well. IĀ have not tested any of the suggested potato recipes and cannot vouch for their deliciousness.