December 11, 2012


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

SF Trope: totally intelligent robots who were made by “no one”

“I think it makes the point really well,” said Hojo Mosako, gesturing at the unveiled robot. With wheels. And a driver. “It says that robot intelligence is impossible. And that robot intelligence can only go where Human intelligence has already paved the way.”

“It doesn’t say that at all!” replied Tsuyoshi Shibano. “It’s the first step in the evolution of robotic intelligence!”

“How’s that?” Hojo asked.

The crowds at the trade show had thinned, leaving a circle of open space around the robot. Tsuyoshi said, “Just because all these losers can’t recognize the first step in the evolution of robot intelligence.”

“What? You think smart robots are going to just appear out of nowhere with no one making them?” she asked.

“Why does anything have to make intelligence? We got here without anyone making us smart?” Tsuyoshi said, rubbing his hand over his head.

“Speak for yourself,” Hoyo said, tossing her hair. “I’m a Christian. I believe God made intelligence and that it didn’t just ‘spring’ from nothing.”

He snorted, looked up at the robot on wheels and said, “I can prove it to you.”

“Prove what?”

“I can prove to you that this robot may be the first step in the ACCIDENTAL evolution of robotic intelligence.” He started forward, glancing both ways and put a foot up on the robot’s wheel.

“What are you doing?” He ignored her and continued to climb until he’d reached the door. He searched for a moment, then grabbed a standard door handle, yanked it and lifted it open. Hoyo shouted, “The only thing you’re going to prove is that a person can in fact be jailed for exhibiting stupidity!”

“Just goes to show what you know!” he shouted and slammed the door. He’d watched the demonstration and gone over the schematics a half dozen times for just this moment. Admittedly, he was just fantasizing then. He’d never planned on going this far.

Through a forward observation slit, he could see Hoyo jumping up and down, waving frantically while at the same time trying not to draw attention to his hijacking. He scanned the interior then tapped a key he’d only discovered his last time through the schematics. He’d only found it then after back tracking a half dozen times and then finally figuring it out for himself. An oblong circle with horizontal squiggles across it was stenciled above a plastic case covering a single switch. He opened the box and flipped the switch. To the best of his knowledge, the symbol stood for cognitive augmentation.

A brain booster.

A helmet rested between his legs. LEDs striped the helmet glowed green and red. He picked it up and slowly settled it on his head.

No comments: