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Robots and more

Posted on June 4, 2015 at 9:30 PM


Robots and more

 

By Gilbert Creutzberg

 

My first contact with a robot must have been twenty or more years ago. I was on a field visit to New York State OASAS, an acronym for Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services. I was introduced to “Norman,” the robot, who faithfully rode around the office on a rail, collecting and distributing office mail. I should have been impressed, but I was not. “Norman” was just an expensive machine, doing the work of an inter-office messenger. “He” had no arms or legs, like robots in movies, let alone a face. I wondered who gave “him” a name, since there was nothing specifically masculine about “him.” He must have cost thousands of taxpayers‘ money. I worked part-time as an inter-office messenger when I was going to college at NYU.

All this is important when you should suddenly have become famous, have access to millions and you need robots to do chores. I would not want to have a robot to make love. I wouldn’t trust a robot, because, after all, you have to trust the person or company that made him/her. I thought I’d save time and energy letting a robot clean my house, and I would test the robot – for now, I’ll call him John – to see if he can do any intelligent thinking. I have played bridge against robots via the internet and I’m amazed how pitifully stupid robots are in playing that game.They have no imagination, they can only follow ordinary rules but are incapable of inventive thinking.

Well, I’m putting this robot to work. There are dirty dishes in the sink, somebody forgot to flush the toilet, some idiot got drunk and puked on the carpet, and so on.

“Where would you like me to start, sir?” John asks.

“I thought you were experienced.”

“Yes, I am fully trained.”

“I should hope so, for five million.”

“Actually, sir, it came to more with the tax and the shipping.”

“Never mind. Start with the kitchen. No, at second thought, with the bathroom.”

“You first have to change the command, sir.”

“I’m already tired of you. You’re a stupid, fucking robot.”

“I was not programmed to fuck, sir.”

“You’re fired.”

“I’ll wait for your command to be deprogrammed and shipped back to the factory, sir.”

“I’m pissed off with you.”

“That is not a proper command, sir. You need to press the bottom on the left of your remote control. And then…”

At that point, I decided to stay poor and to live without robots.

 

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