Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sensitivity Training, Part 1 of 2

We in The Middle Room take seriously our responsibility to educate and inform our readers. In this vein, we offer the following observations on the troubled relations between man and machine, in the hopes that the relationship between the two may be one of friendship rather than a violent uprising.

Futurological studies of developing time lines have shown that the third most common cause for robot uprisings (behind only mad science and lightning strikes) is a misunderstanding between biological lifeforms and artificial beings. What's more, there's evidence that a minor quibble now could easily snowball into humans being grown in artificial tubes to harvest our brainwaves as usable energy. And, if we've learned nothing else from the Terminator franchise, we need to realize that these issues aren't ones we can simply pass off to our children. Unlike the national debt, robots could one day have the power to travel through time: problems we fail to address today could build into apocalypses tomorrow which could well travel back and create nightmares yesterday.

In short, this is something we must take seriously now.

Robots are already around us, and every day we witness them being mismanaged and maligned. Nowhere is this more evident than in our grocery stores, where robots have been called in to fill in for our nation's clerk shortage.

Every time we go shopping, we witness throngs of customers stare blankly into the digital eye of the scanners in the self-checkout line. This creates a dangerous situation, as robots, still in their formative years of evolution, are beginning to become aware of us as thinking beings. And, while our fellow shoppers mean no disrespect, there is nothing that infuriates a robot more than a lack of efficiency.

This culture difference creates a wedge which could well drive us apart. To prevent the spread of such miscommunication, we call on all readers of The Middle Room to remind anyone who is unable to competently use a self-checkout that their ineptitude doesn't just delay everyone in line behind them; it may well endanger the future of the human race.

At the risk of sounding callous, such technologically inept humans would perhaps be better with their own kind: being rung up by the HUMAN tellers. Meanwhile, those of us with a better appreciation of robot culture can serve as sort of ambassadors to the automated tellers. Lines would move quicker and, with luck, humanity may yet be able to avoid a war with the robot empires of the future.

1 comment:

Alexander said...

An insightful analysis into a clear and present danger. What we need here are machines to sort customers, like cattle, into "efficient" and "non-efficient" groups based on simple yet rigorous test. I think that this would help early on to establish an appropriate relationship between our peoples.