Although pressed by the deadline, the team working on the android managed to fulfill an agreement to have it appear at an annual event sponsored by Wired magazine in June 2005. For the display, Phil, as the android called itself, was dressed in clothes that belonged to Dick and placed in a setting modeled after a bungalow in which Dick lived and containing items that belonged to him. While there were a few canned responses programmed in, when asked a question the android would look to the database of information from Dick's interviews and writings to generate a response.
Phil was a huge success. People were standing in line for two hours to spend one minute with it. Yet Phil was far from perfected. Among other things, noise levels could cause an endless loop in which the android would embark on a monologue that may have no bearing on the question asked. Although some might argue that this endless loop might have portrayed the mental health issues that plagued Dick near the end of his life., the only way to stop the loop was to essentially restart part of the programming.
Phil the Android made other appearances within a month at the University of Memphis, a meeting of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and Comic-Con. Hanson was also asked to present Phil at a program at Google headquarters. Unfortunately, in changing planes en route to San Francisco, Hanson left the carry-on bag containing Phil's head on the plane. Although the airline told Hanson it found the head and was forwarding it on the next flight, it disappeared. And so ended the life and career of Phil K. Dick, the android.
Dufty's presence at the University of Memphis during the relevant time and his relationships with those involved in the android's development allow him to serve as an omniscient narrator. Although How to Build an Android will be of most interest to Dick fans and those interested in robotics and artificial intelligence, it is told in a manner suitable for most anyone.