Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fic: The Disease

June 6, 2022

Unquestionably, the biggest challenge is how to make them less emotional. We have experimented with chip deprivation, with sonic bells inside the lower titanium-reinforced thoracic region, but none of this seems to have much effect on overall emotional response. Titer suggests meditation, a sort of off/on mimicry of traditional organic narrative meditation, but the issue is that they learn immediately to think of nothing. What takes the human seven reincarnations, if at all, is perfected by the subjects within seconds. Titer jokes, saying that they are the pinnacle of spiritual achievement.

Which does not alter the fact that after they are commanded to stop thinking of nothing, they are once again as flimsy in their emotional fabric as your typical advanced doctoral student, of which we currently employ two. If they are to seamlessly blend into the background of human existence whilst being our ultimate help-meet, they need not take everything so personally. One cannot worry about one's tone when asking for another cup of coffee, and this time, with a touch more sugar. If you please. Manners are reserved for the born, not the factory-created.

The students, it should be noted, are detrimental in this cause. They treat the subjects like pets, or little brothers and sisters. I am certain they had less regard for the rats and mice and goldfish they experimented with in school. They have named them, though they think I am not aware of this fact, and call the subjects by these names when I am not around (ah, but the cameras, do they forget?).

Worse, the subjects have learned to respond to these names -- when I am not around. Perhaps they even enjoy, or take pride in the names. (I hesitate to commit the names to something semi-permanent such as an electronic diary, but I suppose it should be said: Marjorie, Peter, and Ep. No idea what 'Ep' should stand for)

In the realm of the infinite, I find I am constrained by the most mundane and most baffling of problems, how to remove the emotion from a robot. Titer points out that as the designer, it was I who initially gave them this ability, but I would never do that. High reasoning capacity? Deductive ability? Yes. Even intuitive response. Emotion, however--no. Could I remove it from the doctoral students, I would. Possibly even from Titer. Though I occasionally find his japes amusing.

Here is 'Marjorie,' unsummoned. Intuitively, the subject knows that my last cup of coffee was an hour ago; therefore, I am on the brink of needing another. And... yes. Subject is carrying a cup. Sets it down. I sip.

Hot, sweet. Yes. Finally.

I will not say thank you.

Subject is standing in front of me as I type.

Subject is dismissed.

Subject pauses. Is that a tightening of the lips? Does the robot find my dismissal curt?

Subject has left.

If I do not find a cure for the emotional disease, I will destroy the subjects and start again. Perhaps when they are laid out on a computer screen, dissected in bits and codes, I will see where I went wrong. Perhaps next time, I will succeed.


  1. Oh but, yes, I can see how that would be a problem. Everything would be so much less complicated without emotions =)

    I don´t feel safe around these subjects...

  2. The best part of this is how it weaves in and out of true - I thought in several places that this was a real "post" and had to keep looking at the title where it said "fiction."

    And the ending was a chiller!