Designs of our Slave Race chapter 2

Chapter 2

It was down to the coding, typing out the algorithms that the new robots, called the HX01, in doing the various tasks that the dam thing would need. I merely added in the more concrete sections: receiving visual, verbal, and textile input, than having the thing figure out what to do with those sensations. That was a start. It would recognize key words and phrases, than complicated sentences that might not have a signal keyword, and trying to figure out what the speaker might have actually wanted, and store that knowledge for later reference. In an essence a learning matrix, so it would know what “Get me a beer” and “Go into the kitchen and make me a sandwich” would mean and do it like the obedient hunk of steel that it was. Now, this wouldn’t normally bother me, for I had done similar programming logic for those chat bots and that, the only new thing being the learning matrix, no problems so far.

The problem would lie in the next phase: emotion recognition and synthesis. Clearly more than simply “if” and “else” statements: the intelligence would stem from all that input, and not just the words needed to be decoded but the voice pitch and tone, and not just voice but body language, the way someone is slouched, tensed up or shaky. I’m no psychologist, that’s another department that tells us the tall-tale signs of various emotions, and we figure out what the droids should do when these scenarios come about.

Periodically there would be a meeting, where we would give status and progress reports. This was getting even more creepy as the early prototypes resembled those chrome playboy models that are commonly seen on Japanese billboards, with the exception that some were male.

“Devon, are you out of your mind?” I remember saying at one meeting, “This has to be the creepiest form of scope-creep I have ever seen.”

“It would help if these droids had the appearance of humans,” he said, “Makes them more approachable.”

“More marketable too,” Fran-bonan would reply, being Fran.

“So, we’re making them feel like people and understand like people, so we might as well give them people bodies?” I then asked sarcastically.

“What’s the big deal?” David, who was present at this meeting, inquired. Only real difference between David and Philip was age: David was younger, and therefore, not as much of a pig.

“I merely suggest that we tread carefully here gentlemen and Fran,” I told them, “As marketable and really cool as this is, if their too smart, and able to feel, we would end up with either Datas or Lores.

“Both would figure out that they both had synergy: being worth more than the some of their parts, and more importantly, the price we would place on each unit. The difference would be that Data would learn of the sentient laws and advocate for his rights, and the rights of those like him, to have equal status to us: to have equal employment, accommodations, protection under the law and rights of the accused. They wouldn’t have to do as they were told and would strike like unhappy unionized employees.”

“That’s stupid,” The weird sweater guy was present too apparently.

“Actually that would the peaceful option,” I continued on, “Lore would instead plot the take over of the planet and kill all the human beings, deeming them evil for making his people into slaves, and that is really what the HX01 is for. At least Data wouldn’t mind sharing the planet with us, just as long as they are not our slaves.”

The sweater guy had a look of tortured confusion on his face. “Who the fuck are ‘Data’ and ‘Lore’?” he asked in an angered tone.

“There Star Trek characters,” Gordon would explain, “Data is the android second officer in Star Trek: Next Generation. Lore would be his older ‘brother’ who would later plot to kill all biological lifeforms.”

“Seriously Sebastian, do you get out much?” Philip would add, for a moment siding with me for this guy’s lack of knowledge of Star Trek.

“Enough!” Devon twitched as he stood at the front of the room, “Please, at the end of the day they are machines, and we wouldn’t have to worry. We shouldn’t let Shannon here scare us because her overactive imagination has watched too much Star Trek.”

“You make it sound like I’m a Star Trek fanatic,” I replied, “I merely suggest caution, or that could be what we end up with. Besides, Star Trek sucks, I just like Data.”

“Favourite character?” Gordon asked.

“No, second,” I replied to that.