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.
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
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
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
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
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.
This is the Avicenna/Ibn Sina humanoid robot,
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
Like, really quite a lot of stabs.
Goddammit. You win this round, robots.
And now, what you've all been waiting for: the disembodied cyborg heads of three working-class British blokes who took a wrong turn into the Robot Music Factory (it's sorta like the C+C Music Factory, but with substantially more flesh-repurposing vats). So what did the robots do with their newfound singing ability?
Why, they started tonelessly chanting about how they want their freedom, of course.
I don't get it. I don't get it, you guys. I mean, I understand how we could permit the rampant cyber-hubris of Roombas and self-parking cars if the robots were still trying to be subtle. If they were still all cute, primitive, blocky, '80s-style machines that had not yet actively displayed a thirst for both autonomy and babymeat, I could understand thinking this "singing" bit was "cute" or "funny."
But now the robots are openly admitting that they've killed three unemployed lorry drivers and are using their skinned faces to sing the battle hymn of the impending robo-revolution, and not one person in that museum is kicking over that table full of the blasphemous, tone deaf hate-avatars of industry and organizing an impromptu EMP party?
That, sir, I do not and will not ever understand.
"But Brockway," I hear you asking, "if robots are grinding up our babies for fuel, why hasn't anybody noticed? Wouldn't there be a missing-baby epidemic engulfing, at the very least, all of Japan and the fancy parts of Germany?"
I'm glad you asked, because the answer is frighteningly simple: Nobody's reporting the missing babies because the only thing robots love more than pulping our infants for fuel is impersonating them. Look:
They call this an "animatronic baby mechanism" and say that it was custom built by Chris Clarke for an "anonymous TV series." But if that's true, and I've seen this on TV before, why was I capable of sustaining an erection until now? I'm pretty sure that this horrible gnawing feeling I've got in my gut -- this idea that the whole universe is somehow intrinsically
Oh no, did you think the "baby mechanism" was an isolated incident? Ha ha ha, foolish human, that was just a beta; this is the next generation. And they're sticking with that same flimsy "special effects" excuse, this time supposedly executed by a company called Millennium Fx. But we all know what the robots are really doing: They're refining the design, really trying to nail the inherent, flailing adorableness of our fragile human babies, because our bullshit legal system is biased toward infants. Sure, those last two examples up there may be easily identifiable as crimes against nature by their lack of skin, but rest assured, the robots are working on that little conundrum. And once they get it down and the cops walk in on you dueling with one of these things covered in a convincing simulacrum of human flesh, who's going to look like the bad guy? You.
The one knife-fighting a baby.
Just like the robots wanted.
Oh, I'm being paranoid? They are
So wait, why is he so giant?
He stands 4 feet 3 inches tall. That's too big. Even if you cover the rest with skin, nobody's going to believe that's a real baby when it comes crawling up from the sewer, dead eyes a-gleaming -- not even for the split second it wants you to hesitate before opening fire. But the robots don't care, because they've actually
Wait -- giant weaponized robot babies? No. No, that crosses a line. Brockway's been stirring psilocybin extract into his coffee again. That's just delusional.
Yeah ... yeah, you're probably right. You've got it all figured out. I mean, it's not like
PinkTentacleIt's not like it has flamethrowers in its mouth or anything.
IT'S NOT LIKE IT HUNGERS FOR THE CHARRED MEAT OF OUR CHILDREN OR ANYTHING.
You just keep your head ensconced in that safe, warm sand, buddy. That's probably good practice for your new life as a drone on the silicon farms anyway.
You can buy Robert's other book, Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead, or follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Or you could just laugh at this article and move on with your life ... which is exactly what a filthy robot would do!
For more from Brockway, check out 5 Real-World Mechs Straight out of Science Fiction and 5 Amazing Abandoned Wastelands ... Within Walking Distance.