Once a robot took its pet human for a walk in the park as usual. Though it was early in the day, the place was already crowded with other robots putting their own humans—from the pampered show set all the way down to scruffy curs—through their paces. Or at least trying to. It never ceased to embarrass the robot how many of the other owners it encountered seemed clueless, or deplorably negligent, when it came to controlling their pets. Hired walkers presented a particular disappointment, of course, what with their tangled brace of half a dozen unruly humans snarling and snapping at each other and raising a frightful din. Disciplining pet humans to the point where they could be counted on to feel indebted in every respect to their robot owners and follow without question every command was, admittedly, no easy task. But where there’s a will, there’s always a way. Wasn’t the first suggestion by a robot to implant a microchip in all human beings to make them easier to locate if they either got lost or ran away a stroke of true genius? And the latest-gen implants showed ever greater promise in cementing human reliance upon robots through the final elimination of all unprogrammed emotions and counterproductive desires. Not to mention the constant stream of biometric data these implants provided so robots would always know when the time had come to put failing humans down and mercifully out of their misery. Getting homo sapiens sapiens to welcome becoming utterly dependent upon the superiority and benefits of AI was the key to controlling them. Once that was accomplished, you could throw out the most trifling of new tech-toys in absolute confidence that your pet human would lunge at it with eyes aglow and then engage in endless rounds of absorbed self-exercise, while you leisurely chatted with other robots on a shady park bench. It was enough to glance up every now and then to monitor your pet gleefully scampering here and there until it staggered back to flop in panting devotion at your feet. Quite a touching testament all of this was to the unbreakable bond that developed so quickly between human and robot, when you thought about it. As was the uncanny way in which many pet humans came to be the spitting image of their owners over time. Look-alike photos of grinning robots and their pet humans were continually being uploaded on social media and going viral. Not to mention the zeal some robots evinced in pursuing “Best in Show” recognition for their prize-winning humans, as demonstrated through conformity to rigorously enforced standards and celebrated in a high-stepping little prance before judges who devoted their lives to such pursuits. Yes, total dependence was the key to controlling pet humans, the robot was confident. Once convinced of the rewards of a life made so convenient, entertaining, and comfortable for them by their high-tech masters, they would never again cause the slightest embarrassment when walked. They needn’t even be put on the leash at some point, for they would happily carry it everywhere in their mouths.
Copyright © 2020 by Geoffrey Grosshans