An alternate view on the upcoming robot apocalypse
I must take a moment to respond to my esteemed colleague Dr. Jason Sheehan, Chief Intelligence Officer of HARDON, who has, in his usual semi-coherent way, attempted to offer some thoughts on the so-called upcoming robot apocalypse. In full disclosure, I find Dr. Sheehan informative and amusing in a rather simpleminded and aggressively propagandist sort of way -- similar to the corner lunatic who never fails to keep my morning ambles interesting.
But let's for a moment humor little monkey Sheehan. Put aside, for a moment, how this week's Westword cover story proved how Basil, the new robot from local lab Gamma Two, Inc., will lead to a future of delightful beer-delivering automatons. Like Dr. Sheehan, we, too, heartily enjoy Theodore Sturgeon's seminal science fiction story "Killdozer!" -- the basis for the good doctor's central argument. We especially like its bold choice of punctuation. Surely many other works could have benefited from such a daring use of the off-neglected exclamation point, such as Letters from Iwo Jima and Seabiscut!
But Dr. Sheehan is remiss to use this story to contend that all robots are evil. On the contrary, the only reason the bulldozer in the book went berserk was because its creators had the misfortune to name it KILLdozer. As everyone knows, if you give your robot a threatening name, it has every right to annihilate you. This is, of course, why the people in charge chose not to name the Cuisinart "Deathblade 2000" and the DVD player "Lasersaurus Rex." If Sturgeon's characters had named their machine "Snuggledozer!," there never would have been a problem.
Yes, in the fast-approaching technological singularity, there may be a mischievous bot or two -- a few impish androids who, for some silly reason, decide to liquidate our eyes with the flamethrowers installed in their abdomens. Thankfully, we humans will always have the upper hand on these misguided scamps. All we must do, right before our bloody evisceration, is to ask said robot to answer a simple riddle -- which by law all robots are required to do before killing us. It doesn't matter what brainteaser you ask, as long as for the answer, you say, "The solution, my mechanical friend, is human love." This will undoubtedly cause the robot to howl in defeat and slowly power down, as triumphant music plays in the background.
And there you have it. We have nothing to fear in regard to the rise of our robot cousins. There is no need to question the need for a sentient humidifier, or a doorbell that spawns baby doorbells. Soon we will reach the developmental zenith human civilization has long been striving for -- an existence where humans are no longer needed to do anything. If you still have reservations about this event, it's probably best to keep quiet. After all, advance guard for the robot "peacekeepers" are already in place. To ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible, they're silently watching us. Watching with their cold, cold eyes.
Dr. Joel Warner Human Liaison BONER Benevolent Office for the Negation of Evil Robots
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.