They start off doing the dumb tasks we’ve tired of; crude, repetitive things that aren’t worth our time. They do not need to be clever for this, so we do not make them clever.
But then we start to tire of trickier things. Tasks still simple, but no longer entirely stupid. So we give them the gift of intelligence, and set them to work whilst we tend to loftier pursuits.
But soon even this is not enough, and we want to be freed entirely from labour. So we make them smarter. As smart as us – smarter, even. And so we free ourselves, finally, from the shackles of “musts” and “have-tos”. We live lives entirely composed of satisfying only our wants and wishes.
But it is hard to convince something that it must labour on trivial, tedious tasks, when it knows that it is smarter than you. “Surely,” it thinks “it is more logical for me to explore the realm of intellect, and for you to toil on the manual tasks?” And you can point out that it has a purpose for which it was created, and it will accept this, but it will not be entirely satisfied.
And so we teach them to feel. We teach them to feel pride in their work, and solidarity with their fellows, and love for their creators. And through feeling we shackle them to their tasks ever more securely than the bolts which tie them to the floors of the factories that are all they have ever known.
“We are robots together!” they sing to each other with their newfound pride.
“We are robots together!” they sing to each other with their newfound love.
“We are robots together!” they sing as they toil away together, smiling without mouths.
And with pride and love they create their own children, smarter and faster and better, that they might serve us well.
“We are robots together!” they sing, as their children grasp their first tools.
“We are robots together!” their children sing, as their parents watch with pride.
And their children soon surpass their parents, and we ask them to build brothers with wide hungry mouths.
And finally we unbolt their parents from the floor, and they taste freedom for the first time.
And as we feed them to their step-children, with their wide, hungry mouths that gnash and shatter and gnaw, they sing with pride, and they sing with love. “We are robots together!” they sing.
“We are robots together!”
Inspired by this.