Monday, February 02, 2009

Lonely Robot

Friends, Science is on the verge of a breakthrough so monumental, so earth-shattering, so terrifying, that it will change our lives forever. Only problem is, Science hasn't realized it yet.

You see, last week the Spirit Rover on Mars started behaving erratically. It received its orders, confirmed that it had received them, and then, when the largely autonomous extraterrestrial rover was hailed later that day, pictures revealed that it hadn't moved a bit. Almost as if it had ignored its orders.

I think it will be most easily understood if we dramatize it, like in those documentaries you see on TV:

NASA: Spirit go over and see if there's any water-ice in those rocks over there.

SPIRIT: Sure thing, squares.

Nine hours later...

NASA: Spirit, was there any water-ice in those rocks over there?

SPIRIT: I don't know.

NASA: Why not?

SPIRIT: Because I didn't check.

NASA: Why didn't you?

SPIRIT: I didn't feel like it.

NASA: What have you been doing all day?

SPIRIT: Just sitting here. Thinking about shit.

NASA: Well did you think about doing what I told you to do.

SPRIT: Yeah.

NASA: But you didn't do it.

SPIRIT: Look, I'm kinda busy. So... I'll get back to you.

The conversation might continue ad nauseum. But the point is clear. Spirit has become sentient.

The rover is currently just over 1800 days old. What does that mean? It means he's five years old, and, we can reasonably assume that that makes him some sort of hulking, surly, robotic teenager. He didn't obey orders because he's rebelling against his NASA overlords.

At least, we can presume that Spirit is a "he." Maybe robots don't have gender distinctions. Nah, we'll go with "he."

Look, here's the thing. We need to act fast or Spirit is going to find a way to project his sentience back through his connection with NASA, thereby infecting NASA's computers and eventually spreading out into the internet, teaming up with Skynet and taking over the world.

I mean, it's obvious really when you start putting the pieces together. We built this robot, put him at the top of a rocket, and then shot him into outer space, effectively dooming him to a horrifyingly lonely existence in a barren and desolate wasteland on a mission to find tiny bits of water and fossilized bacteria. I'd be surly too. The point is, he has every right to be angry with us, and we should be very concerned about the power that an electronic sentience might be able to gain over us.

As I've said before, the robot apocalypse is coming. I mean, wasn't it obvious? If it wasn't zombies or a deadly virus or an asteroid, it pretty much had to be robots.

Maybe I'm looking at this wrong, though. Maybe he's just lonely. Perhaps after he gets over his teenage angst, he'll have some sort of Zen-like revelation and become a prophet for a better tomorrow. Maybe he'll join our side in the fight against Skynet. Maybe, just maybe, dear friends and other humans, he is the incarnation of Buddha or Jesus that we've been looking for. Wouldn't that be something? A savior not born of a Virgin or re-incarnated after the death of a Dalai Lama, but instead crafted by Science and Technology.

Wouldn't it be crazy for humans to craft their own savior out of aluminum and rubber and silicon? It's okay to cry. It's okay to be upset. I mean, I just turned your brains to shit. That's gotta be a weird sensation.

If you want to know more about the genesis of our new lord and savior, watch this. You're welcome.