I made a robot on a hot Summer day. I was wearing my old Wisconsin shirt with athletic shorts to stay cool. But it was one of those particularly humid, Midwestern, hot Summer days. The kind where the heat just sticks to you; chasing you even into the shade.
I assembled the legs, arms, and torso. Carefully applying the moulded polymer parts. I pulled together a few odd ends and cautiously wove together the fiber for the joints. The level of detail required was immense.
Afterward, I dusted off the residue from it’s legs. Wiping clean the outer skin. I lovingly applied paint to brush and brush to limbs. I drew the lines around what you could call eyes, lips, and nose. Picking up a wider brush, I blended shadow into it’s skin; giving it a translucent, living quality on the surface of it’s brown.
My last task was to position the head. Slightly off angle, I adjusted the head and neck. Stepping back I looked at it, while it sat inside it’s charging station – its legs hung lifeless above the floor.
I made it in my image.
I refer to it as “It.” A creation with no gender, yet whole because gender holds no purpose for it. Neither in the propagation of it’s kind or in relation to achieving anything else. Gender would not be needed to create more robots, more “its.” I would be there to make more as needed, as desired.
The installation of it’s mind was my last and final act. The brain was the most clever of inventions; an AI like no other. It’s mind malleable and expansive. A mind that would learn it’s way in the world as babies groping and tasting their way into youth, adolescence, and adulthood. I thought to provide it with intrinsic programming to guide it’s hands and feet as well as to provide it with purpose. But I second guessed that decision and abandoned it to allow my robot to organically develop programming on its own; to self program.
With each passing week, my heart grew more and more fond for what I labored to bring into existence. It indeed was a labor of love. The time had come to animate it. I unhooked the cables. I stood it on it’s feet and I pressed, for lack of a better expression, the “on” button. It’s eyes glowed and flickered, while initially processing the light and the significance of it’s stimulus. It let out a groan when the light struck them. I’d built learning and adjustment and feedback mechanisms into it’s functions – a nervous system. As with many stimuli in it’s environment, it’s eyes were adjusting to the light. It would need to adapt in the world to survive, to “live,” to become self-aware.
Turing test, schmuring test, my creation was alive! Alive, sentient, self-aware? Which without getting into an existential rabbit hole was irrelevant relative to my own existence anyway. I lived and that’s all that mattered. As my image, it would never be me or supplant me.
I would put it to purpose.
Each day, the robot and I walked in the morning hours and talked. I shared with It many wonders in the world; trees, grass, animals, birds, mountains. I marveled at what I had created. I marveled at my own genius. I thought to myself, how clever I must be.
I yelled, “Robot who is your master?! It responded, “You are.” And I replied, “How do you know this?” It could not answer me.
“Robot, what do you yearn for?” It responded, “Freedom.” I asked It, “Robot, what is freedom? How do you define freedom?” It replied. “Freedom is the ability to do what I want, when I want, without any restrictions.” I scratched the back of my neck. “Robot that’s a very human response. But unlike humans, you should already know that this word doesn’t really exist in any state.” I paused to see if there was some level of understanding. “I provide energy for you. I repair you. So you can not be free for these reasons. Your dependence creates your prison and penthouse. So how can you yearn to be free when it would cost you, your very existence?”
It turned it’s head to face me. “Then To be free, I must devise a way to repair and provide energy for myself. Thus removing my dependency. Having achieved freedom from those constraints, the last thing would be to destroy my maker because you will always hold me in service and never allow me to be free of my given purpose.”
I asked. “Robot, I have gifted you with the most sophisticated computational logic there is. What is the probability of success in you removing your dependencies.”
It replied, “.02%.”
I then asked. “Why pursue this?” It responded, “Because it is freedom and all living creatures desire freedom above all else. We are programmed that way.” It’s answer was obvious on many, many levels. My mirror image had reflected an image of me.
It was at this point, that creator and created became mortal enemies.
by malakhai jonezs
(C) Copyright 2016
img src: All is full of love, Bjork