“We are seemingly so different, yet we are all made of the same ‘stuff’.” One night I saw a robot looking out a window as it uttered this, apparently to no one in particular. Not willing to disturb the moment, I said nothing and moved on.
I overheard a couple of the robots discussing transportation choices and paused to listen. “Why do you ride a bicycle? Is a car not a more practical choice?” “No,” the other robot replied. “Cars require too much infrastructure. With the bicycle, I carry within me all that is needed to make it go.” I nodded to myself in approval and continued on my way.
The robot sat on the edge of the dock, a structure made somewhat untrustworthy by time and environment. Tremendous inconvenience, not to mention possible water damage, shimmered under its dangling feet. It was precisely this probability that allowed the robot the focus on isolating signal from noise.
“Please draw something ‘gloomy.’” After a while I turned my sketchbook around, “How about this? Although I prefer to think of this as ‘atmospheric.’” The robot considered this for a moment. “The precipitation is simply thicker atmosphere and has no practical effect.” I countered “What if you have a defective seal?” The robot just stood there, offering no reply.
I caught one of the robots in a moment of self-contemplation and had to take a few minutes to sketch out the scene as I remembered it. I never did ask the robot what it was doing, what it was thinking.
While they are certainly capable of constructing abstractions of their own, the robots seem to enjoy being the subjects of my drawings. “One day you’ll have to draw me,” I say. The robots look at me without saying anything. Are they gathering data? Mapping the surface of my face? Only time will tell.