My most recent acquaintance, the robot explorer who shared with me the astounding and mysterious tales of what can only be described as an abandoned city, has told me of other explorers that range far and wide in search of… other things. I find it interesting that the desire to explore is not common among the robots. Their stories aren’t all that well known, either…
The robot continued to describe their return from the city: “My memory was collapsing and fragmenting. The local EMF interference sent entire sectors crashing into a drifting lattice of fragments that mixed and combined with neighbors, altering perception of my surroundings. Navigation away from the site was difficult; my progress slowed to a crawl as I had to closely scrutinize and verify each waypoint multiple times.
The robot described to me a scene in an empty city. This seemed very strange. “How can you be sure this is accurate? Real?” I asked them. The robot shifted in its seat to look at me directly, “Having heard stories of corrupted memories due to EM interference, I created a small redundant array of auxiliary storage devices and striped the data with distributed parity. I hoped this would be sufficient to ensure the integrity of some data. It was. While I still experienced significant data loss and corruption, my RAID device allowed me to retain and confirm the validity of some small fragments from my exploration.”
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.