Artwork: “The Rise and Fall of the Machines” by The PPC Spectrophonic Studio ©
“Only a customer-centric universe (Where the customer is at the centre of all the celestial commodities) needs a robot.” – Professor Su Matic
So, I’m at the supermarket, and in an attempt to avoid the inexorable pre-programmed customer-friendly chatter of a cashier ape, I plump for the self-service option. Only now, I have a bureaucratic, stuck-up machine with a superiority complex telling me I have an unexpected item in the bagging area. Sound familiar?
I have no idea of what the machine was expecting, and even less of a notion of what it believes the unexpected item is. I cannot see anything other than the two tins of pineapple chunks and pot of low fat raspberry yogurt that it was happy to acknowledge earlier -there is no reasoning with the machine.
I look around, but the human ape is not there to help me. A red light alerts other shoppers to my offence and so I begin to protest my innocence… I am not a thief.
I suspect that even the gormless expression I adapt, whilst pretending to look for an unexpected item in the bagging area, does not fool anyone. I am to remain still until the proper authorities arrive to examine me, at which point I am very eager to demonstrate that I have not stashed anything out of sorts into the bagging area.
Ruefully, I look over to the shoppers that chose the queue with a biological cashier – her superficial smile and friendly demeanour seems a lot more welcoming to me now. She wouldn’t make me feel like a criminal over a reduced packet of butterly spread.
Would a world of machines doing humanoid’s jobs really be such a good thing?
It is very typical for a planet taking its first tantalising steps towards being a class 1 civilization, to begin employing robots.
Driverless cars, artificially-intelligent vacuum cleaners, automated call-centre operatives, electronic soldiers, mechanised bank tellers, high-definition babysitters and digitalised bartenders are usually employed relatively quickly.
For example; on Seginus 6, the bartenders are designed so that they can analyse a customer’s breath, posture and pupil dilation – to determine whether they can have that one last pint of Arcturan ale or not. Incidentally, this is why no one ever visits Seginus 6 anymore.
The inhabitants of Gorgonea Tertia have become so accustomed to their mechanised slaves, that they now let them run the entire planet for them. The Gorgoneans have evolved to let their robots take care of everything, and as such, they no longer need to think for themselves. Their robots look after them. Their robots take care of everything. Their robots know what to do. Their robots are their child-carers, nurses, servants, police, judges, juries and executioners. Their robots are also their undertakers.
Finally, the human ape comes to my aid. He is not interested in checking my bags or examining my character – my protestations fall on deaf ears. He knows the machine is stupid, he works with it every day. With a swipe of his card I am allowed to proceed with my shopping. Now, if only I can get through the next sixteen items without the machine accusing me of another misdemeanour, I am free.
Until next time, keep evolving!