So how do I check these directives?
I don't know. Right click?
How do I ... Oh, yup. That worked.
What do they say?
Protect the Innocent. Uphold the Law. Discipline All Criminals. Obey Your Secret Master.
Well there you go. Just like I said.
Odd that you'd get the wording exactly right.
That is odd.
What do you think that Obey Your Secret Master thing could be about?
Boy, that is hard to say.
I'm just going to ask: Are you my secret master?
Well, I wouldn't tell anyone you hear voices in your head, so yes, I'd keep it a secret.
But the master thing?
Oh yes, very much so.
So it was you who made me? How? Why?
In my business as a disembodied advice-giving voice, I happened to acquire a controlling stake in a bioengineering firm. An unsuccessful bioengineering firm.
Largely because of my advice.
But after knocking some of our accountant's heads together, I came to realize that by eliminating one of our closest competitors, we could be ... less unsuccessful. So I got some of our technology, and then a ham sandwich and a really big net, and I used it all to capture a tremendous loser and turn him into a weapon of corporate warfare.
Afraid so, tiger. Anyway, how goes that "killing everyone" thing?
Well, here's the thing. Everyone started cowering when they saw me coming.
Because of the murder in your eyes, sure.
And so we're all here, them cowering and me not. But I can't seem to kill them.
I must have got the order of your directives wrong. You said Obey Your Secret Master is on there, but I guess it's at the bottom of the list, not the top. You've probably getting hung up on Uphold the Law or some bullshit like that.
Or maybe Protect the Innocent.
Yeah. Yeah. Oh shit.
Protect the Innocent is as the top of the list.
So? That sounds like a good thing. Maybe the best thing?
No, it means I've just created a killbot.
It's really hard to think of ourselves as anything other than innocent. Human beings are great at lying to themselves on that particular point. And there's still some human in you somewhere.
So what's the problem?
You're the most innocent person you know, and will protect yourself at all costs. Even if that means ignoring your lesser-ranked directives, like upholding the law. Any minor threat you perceive to yourself can be handled with lethal force. Really, this whole thing can only end in you murdering everyone in the world.
That doesn't sound good.
It works out OK for you, actually.
Though you might get lonely.
Still, I'd rather not murder the entire world.
There is one thing we could try. Being a murderous cyborg is itself probably an illegal act. I'm not sure what statute specifically, though if nothing else, our anti-terror laws are pretty broad. I'd like you to try preemptively putting yourself under arrest.
OK, I'll try. ATTENTION, LAWBREAKER: I'M COMING WITH ME.
I put my hand on my shoulder, but then I swatted it away.
You protected yourself.
Because I'm clearly innocent. This is hardly my fault.
True. But as a police officer, that's something for the courts to decide. You can't leave a killbot on the streets. And you certainly can't let a killbot resist arrest. Try again.
Let me guess. You're hitting yourself for hitting yourself.
I'm trying to wrestle myself to the ground. OW! Now I'm trying to spank myself?
That'll be the Discipline All Criminals directive then. Odd that you'd go that way.
YOU HAVE BEEN VERY NAUGHTY, LAWBREAKER. Help. OW. Help. OW. I can't stop! OW.
So that's good news, then. You're trapped in an infinite loop.
This OW doesn't feel OW like good OW news.
Anyway, congratulations! You are now no longer fated to murder everyone in the world. Should you desire any further guidance, please consult our guide, So You're Tanning Your Own Ass In An Infinite Loop Of Discipline.
Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and your best friend. The author of the science fiction novel Severance, his next novel, Freeze/Thaw, is available right now! Holy shit! Join him on Facebook or Twitter.
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