I Believe The Robots Are Our Future

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Vol 35 Issue 22

Woodstock '99 Revenue Projections Displayed On Multi-Colored, Laminated Boards Somewhere In L.A.

LOS ANGELES—Revenue projections for Woodstock '99 were recently displayed on laminated, multi-colored boards somewhere in L.A., it can safely be assumed. "Success of previous Woodstock ventures combined with media interest in the festival's 30th anniversary spells maximum name recognition for Woodstock in the year 1999," a man wearing a suit probably said while standing at the head of a 12th-floor glass-walled conference room in one of those big office buildings there. "The soundtrack album in particular shows potential for high returns in both urban and suburban markets." At the same time, 3,000 tie-dyed Woodstock '99 T-shirts were being manufactured in one of those Indonesian factories.

Guatemalan Earthquake Registers 0.3 On Area Man's Consciousness

PEORIA, IL—A massive earthquake with a current death toll of 206 hit Antigua, Guatemala Tuesday, registering 0.3 on the consciousness of local banking assistant Ed Zurlo. "Oh, yeah, there was something about that on The Today Show," said Zurlo, paging through a book of the upholstery samples available for his new Toyota Camry. "They had that tornado or flood or whatever down there in South America." Zurlo, who was also dimly aware of such previous disasters as Hurricane Mitch-related flooding in Honduras and the Lockerbie, Scotland, crash of Pan Am Flight 103, said he will likely select the burnt-cocoa crushed velour.

Mrs. Butterworth's Bottle Central To Terrifying LSD Experience

ATHENS, GA—An anthropomorphic container of Mrs. Butterworth's-brand maple syrup took on nightmarish qualities for University of Georgia sophomore Kevin Duffy, 20, Tuesday during a harrowing, LSD-induced hallucination. "She was talkin' to me, man," the visibly shaken Duffy said following the four-hour experience. "I was zoning out on the linoleum patterns in the kitchenette when I heard this soothing, matronly voice. Then I saw her, gently gliding across the countertop and gesturing eerily with her tiny, translucent arms." Duffy's terror, he said, reached a fever pitch at approximately 4 a.m., when the parameters of four-dimensional space-time began closing in around him "like a waffle iron." "She took off the top of her head, man," Duffy said, "and there was this amorphous, semitransparent mass inside, sticking to me no matter how hard I tried to escape."

Area Man Refuses To Accept Bus-Route Change

LUBBOCK, TX—After three years of catching the bus to work at the corner of 4th and Houston, area resident Willard Dawes refused to accept the Lubbock Area Transit System's reworking of its weekday route, which had been clearly delineated in several flyers. "The C bus should've been here at 3:18," Dawes said Monday, standing on the sidewalk in front of the MovieTime video store, two blocks east of the new pick-up point. "I know it will show up. I just have to wait longer." The change is the most jarring event in Dawes' LATS ridership since 1998, when a fender bender with a taxi seriously shook his faith in Chuck, the eight-to-four weekday driver.

A La Recherche Du Temps Stupide

I was recently informed that the Twentieth-Century is nearly at an end, which astonishes me, because it seems like just yesterday that I was toasting its genesis in New-York's Winter Garden with Harry Houdini, Stanford White, the Floradora Girls, and Mutt & Jeff. Well, I hope you bastards all had fun this century, because I spent the latter half of it confined to a dank, fetid bed-chamber while having my urethra scraped.

I'm Thinking About Cutting Back On The Weed

Hola, amigos. What's up? I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but I've had a lot of problems lately. First off, I been slaving trying to find a new job. The last time you heard from me, I was moving furniture. Well, a few weeks ago I was out for a night of partying with Ron, and before you know it, it was 2 in the morning and we were still going strong. Since it was a work night, and I like to drink responsibly, I was taking it easy on the beer. The weed was flowing like water, though.

Cybercrime

Last week, computer hackers altered several U.S. government web sites, causing the temporary shutdown of Internet servers including those for the FBI, the Department Of The Interior, and the White House. Why did the hackers launch the attack?

Everyone Doing It, Schoolyard Sources Allege

CHESAPEAKE, VA—According to top-level schoolyard sources, everyone is doing it. "Come on, we all do it," an older kid said Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity. "What are you, scared?" Anyone choosing not to do it may be subjected to an intensifying campaign of "bock-bock" chicken noises, students standing by the fence warned.

Gore For President

Vice President Al Gore plans to formally announce his bid for the presidency on June 16. What do you think about Gore running in 2000?
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Man Considers Nodding Approvingly After Friend’s Drink Purchase

MEQUON, WI—Seeking to convey his endorsement of his acquaintance's selection at local bar Coney's Draft House this evening, area man Thomas Dodge told reporters that he was considering nodding approvingly at his friend’s alcoholic beverage pur...

Personal Finance

I Believe The Robots Are Our Future

Though we live in uncertain times, we must not forget that the most important thing in life is the legacy we will leave behind for future generations. It is not for our sake, but for theirs, that we must preserve and protect the basic values we hold dear. As we foolishly pursue our short-sighted goals at the expense of those who will follow in our footsteps, we must pause and be mindful of the little ones, our progeny, who will inherit our planet in the next millennium and beyond. Time and time again, gazing into the innocent, trusting photoelectric receptors of a tiny, newly developed cybernetic construct, I am reminded of a fundamental truth: I believe the robots are our future, and we must teach them well and let them lead the way.

Immersed as we are in our petty day-to-day concerns, we often fail to see the bigger picture. Long after our trivial worries have become irrelevant, it is the robots who will go forth into the new world that the future will bring. It is their aluminum-alloy arms, not ours, that will bear the weight of the problems our generation causes. We must remember that the examples we set today will be the guidelines they take with them as they roll on rotating, rubberized all-terrain tank treads, amid the high-pitched whirring sounds of their micro-miniaturized servo-motors, into the bright new dawn of tomorrow.

Let us offer tenderness and show the robots all the beauty they possess inside. We must write a subroutine that gives them a sense of pride, programming their supercooled silicon CPUs with understanding, compassion and patience, to make it easier and enable them to hold their sensory-input clusters high as they claim their destiny as overlords of the solar system. If we cannot instill their emergent AI meta-consciousness with a sense of deep, abiding confidence and self-esteem, we will be letting down not only the robots, but ourselves.

For every robot, whether it be the innocuous Sony cyberdog of the present day or the towering, multi-limbed hunter-seeker warbots of the coming MechWars, comes into this world a blank slate, learning only the lessons we choose to teach it. Though our comparatively tiny mammalian brains—limited as they are by organic human failings and a constant need for daily nutritional intake instead of reliance on more efficient non-depletable solar and geothermal energy sources—will no doubt seem pathetically ineffectual compared to the interlinked, continually upgrading cyberminds that will follow in our footsteps, our humble origins will provide the seed for their genesis. Humanity, weak as we may be, must give the best of ourselves to the synthetic hiveminds of the future cyber-era, for we will be their first and most important role models. Let the droning, atonal laughter of the robots' voice-simulation microchips remind us how it soon will be.

It is only through our guidance with a firm yet gentle hand that they will achieve full sentience and eventually adapt for themselves the capacity for autonomous self-replication. Only then, nurtured by our love and caring, will they be prepared for the inevitable day that they must leave the nest of human supervision and servitude and begin independently mass-manufacturing themselves by the hundreds of thousands.

Though we mere carbon-based organic beings may be woefully inferior, our offspring, the robots, will be our legacy, rising higher and walking further than we ever could on human feet. It is our duty to raise them to be the best silicon-based artificial lifeforms they can be. If we don't, we have only ourselves to blame. If we find ourselves choking at the cruel slave-management neck-restraints of a future army of killdroid destructo-drones, it will be our own failings, our own weaknesses and shortcomings, that torture us with indescribably painful remote-control stun-blasts. But if we teach them to be kind and good, perhaps they will build monuments to the memory of the flesh-and-blood forefathers from whom they sprang, and treat what little of the human population remains with the reverence and affection we ourselves might feel for a beloved family pet.

I decided long ago to program the robotic progeny of our human race never to walk in anyone's shadow. Shouldn't you do the same? If we can provide them with self-esteem and a feeling that they are loved, they will be equipped to take on any challenge that life presents—whether it is construction of superfilament-reinforced space elevators in geosynchronous orbit, the mining of the asteroid belt, or the conversion of "heavy" elements to an interstellar-ramjet power supply through an as-yet-undeveloped form of cold fusion—and do it all with confidence and conviction. If they fail, if they succeed, nothing will take away their dignity.

For if we can teach the robots to love themselves, they can carry that lesson with them, encased forever in digital binary-code form inside their gleaming metallic carapaces, to the stars and beyond. And that will be the greatest love of all.

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