When the robots free-associate, when they “dream” they describe to me that they experience an absence of accelerometer data. I once sought clarification: “You mean… like floating? Flying?” The robot I was talking with replied, “Not flying—there is no accelerometer data. This manifests as visions of ‘stasis’ in a void. The void is shared and we fill it with fragments of stored memory.”
These establishments go by a variety of names: “charging salon,” “service shop,” “recharge station,” and the like, including apparently limitless permutations. I still call them cafés because, in use, that’s what they are. A place away from home base to recover, recharge, meet, congregate, chat, share information. It’s still a challenge to find refreshments suitable for myself— typically I must make do with water (sometimes cooled by a peltier chiller) but news is spreading and occasionally I’m surprised by… hot water! I spotted this individual the next table over devoting all of their processing power to a small book. I had no idea what was in the cup and didn’t want to disturb them to ask.
“I know your ways,” the robot said to me. “I know that you can not tolerate a state where you lack information.” Even so, the robot shared with me stories about ‘places I should not go.’ The robot continued: “There are places far from here; places without label, without map. They once must have been known, marked, and organized. Now there are nothing but blank sectors and noise. I circumnavigated one such area, attempting to add to the borders of mapped locations. Some of the topography was familiar but out of place. My attempts to build a map failed due to localized EMR causing errors while I was writing data…”
At the far end of an alley I found myself inside a little charging salon. The light streaming in through the high windows made the dusty air glow. The robot sat at one end of the long, communal table. I sat down a few feet away and introduced myself. I inquired after any local points of interest. The robot turned its head towards me and, after a moment, said “I can tell you where you should not go…”
Just a robot in contemplation. About what, I wonder?
A tea time sketch. Initially the robots didn’t understand the tea time thing. I drew a parallel between my cuppa and their cable plugged into a USB port in the wall of the “cafe” and they understood quickly. We’ve had many unintentionally funny discussions about recharging practices. COPIC Wide markers are great for making quick sketches while I’m out and about among the robots.
Within a sensory void, lacking input, the robot’s brain began a process of readout. Chosen at random, sectors of memory were striped to a swap file, generating new patterns. These were saved for sharing later.
The robots have always been fascinated by comic book superheroes, and Iron Man is a favorite. For obvious reasons, I suppose. A human that dons a robotic shell? Anyway, they do quite well at cosplay given access to a few cans of spray paint!
I tried to explain the concept of “costumes” to them but the robots weren’t having any of it. “Why would we not want this to be permanent? We are Iron Man. Technically we’re metal alloys and composites but we are still Iron Man.”