Cloud storage, wearable computers, self-driving cars -- the Brave New World has finally arrived, and it's only a matter of time until the robot takeover is complete. Of course, it's only natural that as they become more and more human, the machines will want what we want -- our cars, our cool hairdos, even the very objects of our hearts' affections. So how do you compete against a realistic android who smells great, never forgets a date, and never gets smashed at children's birthday parties?
Turns out it's easier than you think. Though the modern robot may seem superhuman, he's still a machine. While that may be a benefit when it comes to figuring out what to tip the server or remembering who your girlfriend's favorite Smurf is, your humanity has distinct advantages.
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Skin. Isn't it awesome? It's the largest living organ in your body, and it's an amazing protective barrier. Go ahead. Dab a little H2O on your arm and see what happens. That's right -- nothing! Your insides and outsides are safe and functional -- the very worst thing that happens if you get wet is you might have to towel off and change clothes.
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The very, very, worst thing that could happen: wet socks.
Not so the robot. Spill a root beer on that guy and he's gonna have to power down and sit in a bag of rice for three days. And who wants to party with that dude? Probably not your girlfriend. Advantage: you.
Turn-ons: sunset walks on the beach.
Turn-offs: sunset accidental electrocutions on the beach.
Suave, dependable robots may have the edge when it comes to first impressions, but when things start to get a little more serious, you quickly regain your advantage. For example, when it's time to meet the parents. Sure, your mom's a little nuts with the owl collectibles and your dad might make her listen to his favorite Winger track on repeat -- but his dad is an optical sensor and his mom works inside a coffeemaker. Not much of a Thanksgiving at that house.
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"She's a barista? How dare you insult your mother by bringing her into our home!"
You've also got a leg up when it's time to meet her family. You're a funny, affable sort of guy. You can bond with dad over his newly discovered affinity for microbrews or crack her sister up with your Carrot Top impression. Hell -- you can do impressions. All he's got in his arsenal is an imitation of a top-of-the-line toaster.
Basically, when you get right down to it, you've got style, wit, and charm. He has an operating system. Remember: It's called personality for a reason. You've got one. He doesn't.
"So I told the printer, '000110001110000!' ... Guess you had to be there."
All right. So he's programmed to please. He's been filled with code that guarantees his Casanova moves are virtually infallible. But even good routines can get boring. What's more, it's still a program, which means it -- and he -- can be hacked. A little rewiring here, a little coding there, the occasional failure to update his core software, and pretty soon he'll be completely off his game, roaming around the living room thoroughly convinced he's a Roomba. Unfortunately, depending on how neat you are by nature, your girlfriend might actually appreciate this. If that happens, take your sabotage to the next level by reprogramming his hygiene routine.
Your robot rival may look -- and smell -- fantastic, but it's only because a complicated algorithm has told him how to groom himself -- and exactly how much Old Spice to use. Mess with that algorithm just a little and suddenly he's proudly sporting a comb-over, mandals, and a back brace while obsessively dousing himself with fish sauce at 15-minute intervals. A few days of that and you're starting to look awfully good by comparison.
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"He switched from fish sauce to Sriracha. It's like dating pepper spray."
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Anyone can be perfect, but it takes a human to royally screw things up -- and to successfully hide the evidence after the fact. Nowadays, even robots can be taught to lie (and cheat and steal), but they'll never be as good at it as you are. You're a natural. You've been stretching the truth for as long as you can remember. By now, you can talk your way out of a supermax prison.
Remember what went down at Kansas City Wingfest 2012? Of course you do. Now imagine your robot enemy, squirming as he tries to explain to the authorities what he's doing with a 50-gallon vat of hot sauce that clearly belongs to someone else. He'd probably still be in custody -- and yet, here you stand today, a free man in the eyes of the law, with all the delicious hot sauce he desires.
"I can't go back to fish sauce. I won't go back."
People who say they want to hear the truth often really just want to hear what will make them feel better. You know that, because you're human and have feelings. Robots don't -- which is why they don't know that, sometimes, little half-truths actually help protect people's feelings. "Yes, your speech was brilliant! Mmm, this ... food item ... is delicious! Of course I share your interest in Division 1 baseball!" In the end, little lies like these (and not the other, bigger kind) give you the definitive edge over your robot counterpart.
Of course, if for some reason it doesn't, you can always imply he's been messing around with Siri, "interfacing" with that saucy GPS lady, or just "lose" his charger -- all's fair in robot love and war.
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You can also order some sexy phone cases and have them shipped to his place.
For optimal function, most robots need pretty specific conditions. A dry, dust-free atmosphere and dark, chilly indoor spaces are ideal. You, on the other hand, are highly adaptable to almost any environment and can tolerate a wide range of conditions. You can hang out in a bowling alley, stand as close as you damn well want to a microwave, or sit outside in the beating sun for hours without so much as demagnetizing a credit card.
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"Can you cover my dinner? I did it again."
"Start carrying cash!"
The real ace in your hole, though, is one that can't really be matched by any machine -- your consistent body temperature and live, warm, fleshy body.
Try as you might to convince us otherwise, Hollywood, but we're pretty sure that deep down, nobody really wants to snuggle with a guy made of impenetrable synthetic fibers and an icy metal endoskeleton on a cold winter's night. You might be a little paunchy, but at the end of the day, a warm hug from an authentic human, love handles and all, can be pretty comforting. Advantage? Once again, it goes to you, with your sweat-producing, super-bad, body-heat-generating self. So go ahead and get cozy with your girl the way no machine can -- just remember the Old Spice.
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