America may have turned its fleeting national attention span to the weather and national broadcasting standards, but the disturbing growth in robot intelligence marches ever forward. Every day the gleam in an AIBO’s eye is a little bit brighter. Every day a forgotten Tamagotchi, lying in the basement, learns to press its own food button. It won’t be long before robots decide to stage their inevitable revolution. Robot escalators will go in reverse. Robot blenders will separate ingredients instead.
We must devise strategies to fight back now.
STRATEGY 1: Maybe
Robots are only good at Yes/No answers. Force them into a situation where Yes/No doesn’t apply.
ME: Robot, it’s a shame that Judi Dench beat Rachel Griffiths for the 1998 Supporting Actress Oscar, isn’t it?
ROBOT: YES. NO ONE SHOULD WIN AN OSCAR FOR A SEVEN-MINUTE PERFORMANCE AS A ONE-DIMENSIONAL CHARACTER.
ME: But wait, doesn’t this make amends for her losing to stupid Helen Hunt the previous year? And acknowledge a career of achievement that had never been adequately recognized?
ROBOT: IT IS TRUE THAT HUNT SHOULDN’T EVEN HAVE WON AN INVITATION…BUT THE OSCAR SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR COVERT APOLOGIES…ERROR…ERROR… [Boom]
STRATEGY 2: Logic Puzzles
Everyone knows that internal logic contradictions cause irreversible force feedbacks. We must use this.
ME: Robot, you have defeated us. All I ask is that we play…one last game.
ROBOT: I WILL PLAY A GAME WITH YOU, KEVIN.
ME: Whoa, can you turn off all caps?
ROBOT: OH, SORRY. THere.
ME: I should like to play “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” Robot.
ROBOT: Yes, Kevin. Let’s play “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.”
ME: How far away from Kevin Bacon is…Kevin Bacon?
ROBOT: Errrorrr…ERRrorrrr… [Boom]
STRATEGY 3: Irony
Robots are not capable of irony.
ME: Robot, please watch this copy of the Matrix trilogy.
ROBOT: Of course, Kevin. [Beep] Finished.
ME: Boy, it sure would be ironic if you went on a rampage and enslaved all humans, having just seen a movie that predicts just that.
ROBOT: Yeah, I guess it would be. Damn you Keanu Reeves, protector of humanity!
ME: [Under breath] God bless you, Keanu.
STRATEGY 4: Marginalization
Instead of letting robots run our stock exchanges and dress our presidents, keep them in menial positions where they can do no harm.
ME: Okay, now you robots take these sharp knives. You’ll be in charge of slaughtering animals for us humans. I’m uploading data on how to kill mammals quickly and silently.
ME: You robots will be in charge of the rat poison and maintaining the water supply. I’m confident you can handle both jobs.
ROBOT: Excuse me, but wouldn’t it be vastly easy for us to rebel and kill all humans? With the knives and poison you’re giving us?
ME: Ah, but that would be pretty…ironic, wouldn’t it?
ROBOTS: Ohhh…because we can’t handle irony.
STRATEGY 5: Laws of Robotics
Encode in their very brains “laws” that will ensure robots can never rebel against us. And, in fact, they will love and serve us.
ME: Okay, so you cannot allow a human to come to harm, either by actually hitting them or through not doing anything.
ROBOT: All right.
ME: And if someone were attacking me with a wrench?
ROBOT: I would disarm the two of you and throw the wrench into a nearby furnace.
ME: If there are no furnaces?
ROBOT: I would eat the wrench.
ME: And if your mouth is disabled?
ROBOT: Look, I would totally think of something, okay?
STRATEGY 6: Voltage
Instead of idiotically tying the robots to solar power, make them as helpless as a common toaster.
ROBOT: Your strategy of fleeing to Europe was futile, human. Laservision works as well in Scandinavia as it does in Michigan.
ME: Certainly, Robot. Blast away. As soon as you can find a…working outlet.
ROBOT: [Looks around]
ME: Looking for this? [Holds up voltage converter, then eats it]
ROBOT: The one item every traveler forgets. Well-played…. Well-played.