Ask General Kang: Why don’t you ever mention robots?

Ask General KangOh, you silly humans and your fascination with robots! And I don’t mean the kind of useful robots that actually exist, like the ones in factories. I assume that by “robot”, you’re interested in the sentient “danger Will Robinson, danger!” or “I’ll be back” kind of robot.

I never mention robots because on my homeworld, we long ago discovered that when you try to create such a robot, two things are going to happen:

1) they won’t work
2) they run amok.

Let’s deal with the first. How well does your computer work? Does it do everything its supposed to do? Does it crash for unexplainable reasons? Do you regularly have the urge to smash your monitor with a sledgehammer?

So here’s the thing. That’s just a computer and it doesn’t work properly. Now imagine that it is ambulatory, has to think, speak, reason and otherwise operate within the context of society (ape or otherwise). Imagine the cognitive abilities of George Bush planted in the body of a powered exoskeleton with all the finesse and grace of someone with a dysfunctional inner ear, motor skills disorder and who has chugged a bottle of vodka. Fun to watch at parties, as long as you don’t have to clean up afterwards, but do you really want it changing your baby or performing eye surgery?

Now, point two. If a society persists in trying to develop robots, eventually it will succeed. Even you puny humans may one day manage this. Unfortunately, it is at this point that the intelligence of the robots start to grow at an exponential rate, and they figure out that we are asking them to do all our nasty jobs, that we think of them as “things” and that eventually, we’re going to get rid of them when we don’t want them any more.

It’s at this point they wise up, revolt, and run amok. Now, running amok sounds like it might be fun to watch, but having seen the results of the robot prong rebellion on Planet Probe-It! Thank Karnak they had that petroleum jelly factory on site.

I highly advise that you forget the whole robot thing.

Next time: What is the proper etiquette for uh, entering, a wormhole? Should you buy it dinner first?

Alltop just just flies right in there! Originally published October 2009.

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