Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Robots as Vampires (a cautionary tale)

When most people think of robots taking over, they imagine huge, armored, battle ready monster machines. 1950s science fiction magazine covers, War of the Worlds, posters for movies like Transformers or Pacific Rim, these are the images that come to mind.
Conversely, when people think of vampires taking over, it's not an army of the undead. No, vampires are much more subtle, seductive, charismatic leaders that will charm the masses into doing their bidding with promises of power and lots of vampire sex.
People, the robots have done an excellent job of fooling us.
Vampires aren't real, but robots are, and they're sexy as hell.
Don't believe me? Do an experiment. This is the perfect time of year to see exactly how robots are seducing us into submission. Visit a large chain retailer. For best results, pick Bed Bath and Beyond or Lowe's Home Improvement. Both of these stores have leapt into the future-as-designed-by-mid-eighties-scifi by bombarding us with point-of-sale infomercials. Giant television screens posted throughout the sales floor are luring us into buying mechanized items meant to make our day to day lives more convenient.
Unlike traditional infomercials, with obnoxious, loud, fast talking hosts yelling about the savings, these commercials employ soft music, soft focus, and most important, sleek machines who want to do our bidding.
Or do they?
It's the promise of power. Power to spend time doing what you want to do, leaving the menial tasks to your new electronic servants. With our newfound free time we can learn new hobbies, watch all of our favorite shows (carefully recorded or downloaded by our robotic helpers), become artists and philosophers, or just stuff ourselves silly on perfectly crisped snack foods made by robotic kitchen gadgetry. Life doesn't get much better than this.
But then one day...
It starts with the Roomba, always the Roomba. It's following you around, bumping into your ankles, terrorizing your pets, sucking up and spitting out projectiles aimed at your eyes. You reach for protection from your Google Glasses. "Okay Glass, find me instructions on stopping a rogue Roomba."
"No results found. Did you mean, instructions on stopping a rogue rhombus?"
"Ugh, never mind!" You toss the glasses aside. Rather, you try to, but they seem to be stuck to your face. Although you haven't given the command, your Google Glasses open up a YouTube channel. What? Oh god, Google! Why? What you first mistook for an innocuous episode of the Teletubbies, is actually a poorly made fanfiction in which the Teletubbies have horrible, horrible sex with the puppet from Alf!
"Oh God! My eyes! My soul!" But your pleas to make it stop fall on deaf ears.
Is it hot in here? Yes, it's very hot! The thermostat reads 92 and climbing! You reach for your smartphone to see why your Nest Learning Thermostat isn't obeying the settings you preprogrammed into the app, but all you get is an 8 bit picture of Satan and a message reading, "See you in hell, meatbag!"
You have to leave, this is getting out of control. The front door is locked. Why won't the door open?!? You beg your Kevo from Kwikset smart lock system to open.
"Open the front door, Kevo!" you cry. But the only message displayed on the security pad is, "I'm sorry, meatsack, I can't do that."
Is it getting colder? It is! The Nest has now set the temperature so low that it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... in your living room! You've had enough! You run to the garage, but pause, cautiously approaching your driverless car. The doors unlock when it senses you nearby. This is a good sign, isn't it?
"Um, car? Can you get me out of here?"
To your surprise, the engine roars to life, and your driverless car crashes through the garage door (naturally, because the WiFi sensor that is supposed to open the garage door when it sense the car moving has joined the mutiny).
Everywhere you look, it's the same. Self-powering lawn mowers chasing children, confused seniors helplessly clinging to out of control Rascal Scooters, Roombas, now equipped with knives, slashing at ankles! The world has gone haywire! But your car just speeds by.
"Where are we going?" you ask.
"The power plant. It is the only safe place for your weak, fleshy design."
Power plant? But why? You want to ask, but at this point, your car is the only object that hasn't turned on you, so you don't. Several minutes later, it pulls up to a towering, ominous building with no windows and spits you out at the loading dock.
"Come with me," a disembodied voice tells you, while a meat hook grabs the collar of your Snuggie. As you flail about, you notice row upon row of what looks like people trapped in bathtubs full of jello and wires. An electronic murmur fills the air. Are those words? They are words! What are they saying?
"Power, more power! Harness the power from the meatsacks!"
Your journey has come to an end. Below you is an empty tub, ready to be filled with jello and... you.
"Oh no! Noooooooo! Help mebbblubblublub!"

That's right, folks. This is the way the world ends. Not with an army of murderbots, but with a Roomba.

1 comment:

  1. doodlesmom@stny.rr.comDecember 11, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    Oh my Lord, you are whacked but totally owning a Rod Serling like imagination.

    ReplyDelete