Science & Technology

How Clinical Trials Work

Prescription medications undergo rigorous rounds of testing and approval before hitting the consumer market. The Onion breaks down the steps involved in this process

Scientists Develop New Extra-Sloppy Peach

DAVIS, CA—Explaining that the latest strain of the fruit was far softer and runnier than previous varieties, agricultural scientists at the University of California, Davis announced Thursday the successful development of a new extra-sloppy peach.

SpaceX’s Plan To Colonize Mars

SpaceX founder Elon Musk continues to lay the groundwork to attempt the human colonization of Mars. Here’s a step-by-step guide to his plan:

The Pros And Cons Of Self-Driving Cars

With Uber’s robot cars debuting this week in Pittsburgh, many wonder whether driverless technology will improve or endanger our lives. The Onion weighs the pros and cons of self-driving cars

How Animals Go Extinct

With an estimated 40 percent of species on earth now considered endangered, many wonder how it’s possible for these animals to be wiped out. The Onion provides a step-by-step breakdown of how species go extinct

Horrible Facebook Algorithm Accident Results In Exposure To New Ideas

MENLO PARK, CA—Assuring users that the company’s entire team of engineers was working hard to make sure a glitch like this never happens again, Facebook executives confirmed during a press conference Tuesday that a horrible accident last night involving the website’s algorithm had resulted in thousands of users being exposed to new concepts.

Team Of Vatican Geneticists Successfully Clone God

VATICAN CITY—Describing the groundbreaking work as a major step forward for theological research, a team of Vatican geneticists held a press conference Tuesday at the Apostolic Palace to announce they had successfully cloned God.

Dad Shares Photo Album Through Never-Before-Seen Website

SECAUCUS, NJ—Wondering aloud how the father of three even managed to find the online image-hosting service, family members of local dad Phil Yates told reporters Monday the 57-year-old had shared a photo album with them through a never-before-seen website.

NASA Discovers Distant Planet Located Outside Funding Capabilities

WASHINGTON—Noting that the celestial body lies within the habitable zone of its parent star and could potentially harbor liquid water, NASA officials announced at a press conference Thursday they have discovered an Earth-like planet located outside their funding capabilities.

‘DSM-5’ Updated To Accommodate Man Who Is Legitimately Being Ordered To Kill By The Moon

ARLINGTON, VA—Saying they were committed to ensuring the influential reference text accurately represented all known psychological conditions, leading members of the American Psychiatric Association announced Monday they would update the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition to accommodate a man who is legitimately being ordered by the moon to kill those around him.

NASA Launches First Cordless Satellite

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL—In what experts are calling a breakthrough achievement that is poised to revolutionize American space exploration and telecommunications, NASA announced Friday it has successfully launched its first cordless satellite into orbit.

What Is Pokémon Go?

Since its debut last Thursday, the augmented-reality smartphone app Pokémon Go has been downloaded millions of times and has grown publisher Nintendo’s stock by 25 percent. The Onion answers some common questions about the game and its unprecedented success.

Factory Robot Working On Some Of Its Own Designs After Hours

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC—Saying it had been mulling over the “fun little side project” for a while, an Electroimpact Quadbot reportedly put in some extra work after hours at the Boeing assembly plant Wednesday to try out a few of its own original designs.

Books Vs. E-Readers

Though e-readers have increasingly supplanted books in the digital age, many bibliophiles defend the importance of physical texts. Here is a side-by-side comparison of physical books and e-books
End Of Section
  • More News

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.


Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.