5 Creepy Ways They're Replacing Humans with Robots

I've covered the aberrant, appalling, amoral abominations that are robots many, many times before. And yet science still keeps making them. This forces me to conclude one of two things: Either I'm mistaken about the extent of my own influence as a pillar of the scientific community, or else scientists are choosing to ignore my warnings because I simply haven't brought forth enough logical data to prove that all robots are hateful automatons that burn our precious babies for fuel. Obviously, I choose to believe the latter, and so I shall now endeavor to correct that mistake by presenting, in a calm and rational matter, this totally factual, peer-reviewed, irrefutable evidence that machines want to steal your face.

#5. Talking Robot Mouth

This is the Talking Robot Mouth, and it's intended as a robotic emulation of the mechanical process that humans use to produce speech. And yet it stills sounds like a wet Atari begging for death. Handy hint, scientists: When you plug in a machine and the first thing it does is scream, it's not time to enter beta testing, it's time to burn it and devote the rest of your life to apologizing to God through charity work.

But, alas, science did not heed its own fight-or-flight reflexes and kept working on the TRM, and now, tragically, it's improving. The TRM listens to the noises it makes with a microphone and determines "by itself" what sounds it can produce that will make it more human. It's just a tube of rubber being intermittently poked at by pistons, and still it wants to infiltrate and replace us!

DigInfo$20 says that hand is not coming back up with all its fingers.

Listen, everybody knows that whenever you teach a robot to be the best at something, it quickly realizes that all humans are unacceptably inferior and are, in fact, just getting in the way of its attempts to create a perfect society/game/burrito. Eventually, some poor lady is going to mispronounce something within earshot of the Talking Robot Mouth, and then it's just a matter of time until they find her dead from a collapsed windpipe after the TRM started firing metal pistons into her throat in a misguided attempt to help her enunciate correctly. Then the government tells them to shut the project down, a plucky, determined scientist escapes the facility with it, they have some misadventures and teach each other about friendship and yada yada yada -- cut to 30 years later, and our children are sliding down the wet, screaming mechanical tubes of our Mouthbot Overlords.

Or hey, maybe someday somebody is just going to try to fuck that thing. That's far more likely. Right now, somebody with a way out of control Elita One fetish wants to bone that awful, elongated insectile mouthsock more than anything they've ever seen in their entire life. And they're going to find a way to do it, and that's how it's going to get a taste for blood.

#4. Saya the Teacher Robot


This is Saya, and she's a "teacher robot" from Japan. Man, that really just goes to show you how wide the gap is between our cultures and educational systems. Our own schoolchildren aren't taught this level of existential terror until the first time they see the boat scene from Willy Wonka on Teacher Hangover Movie Day (or, failing that, junior high school dances).

The developers say that Saya can express the six basic emotions she needs to interact with children: surprise, fear, disgust, anger, happiness and sadness.

See, that's your first hint that Saya is actually an evil plot to scare children away from literacy so they can't slip messages to each other in the slave mills: She's programmed to display six emotions that help her interact with children, and only one of them is the least bit positive. Hey Replicants, when you tell reporters that your robot reacts to a child's joy with shock, fear, disgust and anger, is it hard to keep from cackling maniacally? I hope so, because that drills-on-steel cacophony that passes for Replicant laughter is one of your precious few giveaways.

Look at those tiny, tiny idiots, poking a robot into a murder-rage.

When asked why, oh God, why did they feel the need to bleach a corpse, drape it over a metal skeleton and then hurl it at the children, Saya's developers stated that "robots that look human tend to be a big hit with young children and the elderly."

And there's your second hint: Robots are incapable of understanding the unique psychology of the aged, and so will frequently do baffling things like insist that old people really enjoy interacting with disconcerting, experimental technology. If you ever talk to someone and they say something like "Oh yeah, your grandpa will absolutely love this augmented reality app," then know that that "person" is actually a robot, and you need to shape your fingers into a point, then thrust at a spot midway between its shoulder blades, just below the base of the neck. That is its reset switch. Don't worry if it doesn't work at first; the button sticks a little, and you really have to get in there to set it off.

Just keep at it! Humanity is depending on you.

#3. Hobot

This is the Avicenna/Ibn Sina humanoid robot, designed for Hanson Robotics. It's all rather cutting edge. It has moving eyes with cameras and facial recognition software installed, but while its head and upper body are fully articulated, its legs don't work.

And that's just great.

Now we can't even trust our bitter, disenfranchised, paraplegic hobos. It's a brilliant move on the robots' part, really. Disabled, bearded homeless guys are everywhere, they're frequently confused about the state of reality and they're always requesting our spare change. By replacing them all with Hobots, the machines have put into place a vast, ubiquitous metal-harvesting network that doesn't even have to try to pass for human. You know what that means? The homeless guy on the corner who's constantly screaming about "unpeople" all around him -- he isn't crazy! We're the ones who are crazy for not listening to him. He's just been trying to warn us of the sinister plot already bearing down on us all. You know what? I'm going to talk to him right now, and listen, really listen, to what he has to s- nope, I've been stabbed. He stabbed me. A lot.

Like, really quite a lot of stabs.

Goddammit. You win this round, robots.

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Robert Brockway

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