Sunday, October 9, 2011

The empty sack of traits

The discerning reader should pick up on the fact that the kitten featured in this story about a sad robot is named Epimy. This is an obvious reference to Epimetheus, titan twin of Prometheus--the latter meaning foresight, the former hindsight. Duh. The twins were given the task of handing out qualities to all the animals of the mythological world. Epimetheus, lacking foresight, emptied his sack of traits before he got around to man. Getting his brother out of this tight spot, Prometheus stole some goddamn fire from the gods the way we learned in high school. What this has to do with a robot who is sad because he can't cry, I leave up to you (you being you) to decide.

The two other inspirations for this story were the answering machine message I had at the time and a series of songs by Grandaddy about a robot who commits suicide. The story, for me, is a comment on humanity's sad drive to build robots who resemble us. Why it's important for a robot to smile or dance is so, so far beyond me. I understand making machines for specific tasks, but striving to make humanoids seems just frivolous and an obvious path to a Terminator future. This trend which I had hit on in 2004 has since gone unabated. Obviously the Movers and Shakers did not get their copy of Soliloquies 7.

No comments:

Post a Comment