Having assured me that it did not require my assistance, the robot returned its attention to the paper map it held. As I continued on my way down the street I turned momentarily and called back to the robot “Remember: the map is not the territory!” The robot looked back up at me and continued to follow me with its eyes.
A valley landscape illuminated by light from the longer wavelengths greeted the robot as it emerged from the densely packed undergrowth of the jungle. As it surveyed the setting of the sun, it was satisfied with its decision to deviate from the marked trail and seek unknown vistas.
I’d come to the realization that I’d left large portions of the city unexplored and thus set off deeper into the heart of the urban environment. Some hours later I emerged from a dark alley into an obviously “1.5” version of the city; older and more worn but no less vibrant and active. Upon catching sight of me, the resident robots paused in their activities and—stared—at me. I got the feeling that perhaps I was the first human they had seen in a long while?
The robot wanted to talk so I sat down, took out a pen and immediately began recording the robot’s words. They have developed the capacity to admire and appreciate the actions of others and have grasped the concept of “hero.” When the robot finished talking I was speechless for a time…
Whether it was a voltage sag, burst of static, or some other electronic phenomena was irrelevant; data had been written to NVRAM during sleep cycle, and it was anomalous. The robot reviewed the data and found itself (descending/ascending?) towards (away?) from a collection of undifferentiated structures (city?). There was no clear correlation to the day’s activities and the data was confusing in that it seemed to defy physical laws. The robot determined to consult with the human the next time it was local.
The robots are generally partial to EDM and have recently discovered Steve Aoki. So now I get them booming at me “Grab your markers and sketchbook… IIIIIIT’S TIME!!” in a nearly flawless imitation of UFC announcer Bruce Buffer.
With increasing frequency we’ve been having discussions about non-physical characteristics. Personality tests have become a fad. One of my favorite questions to ask of the robots I meet is: “What color is a robot’s heart?” It’s a great springboard into a nearly bottomless conversation.
During a casual evening of conversation and drinks (it was just me drinking really) this individual introduced itself to me as the shop coordinator for a nearby heavy industrial manufacturing facility. “What sorts of things do you do there?” I asked. It rocked forward in its chair and boomed at me “What don’t we do?!” It then punctuated this statement by actually slapping the table. The robots are obviously watching TV programs.