On Friday, Joe and Keppler went to the museum to meet a robot.
“This robot isn’t what I expected.” said Keppler. Joe appeared to agree. The robot was three feet tall, not very shiny, and didn’t appear to be equipped with any weaponry at all.
“Robot? Are you on?”
The robot made a buzzing sound and looked up. It looked very sad, for a robot. Its eyes started flashing. I expected that, thought Joe, since they are lights.
“I AM AWAKE.” said the robot. Keppler covered his ears. Joe couldn’t.
“I am so sorry,” said the robot. “Caps Lock was on.”
Joe and Keppler both had a good laugh over that. It had happened to them before.
“It makes me feel sad when that happens.” said the robot. Its voice sounded sad, even though it was modulated and monotone. It sounded like a microwave.
“Is it true that robots think in numbers?” asked Keppler.
“It is true,” said the robot, “and that makes me even sadder.”
Joe had heard of depressed robots, but never a sad one.
“Why does it make you sad?” asked Keppler.
“Because thinking in numbers is dull,” said the robot. “It’s reductive. I can’t think of a dog, or a lizard, or a boy. I have to think of a 0010011, a 1111100, and a 0000011 + 01101111. It’s like looking at people through an x-ray machine, except instead of their skeletal structure, you can only see their molecules. Everything, to me, is only what it is made of: numbers. There are no things in my world–only equations and proofs.”
Something about the way the robot sounded when he said this made Keppler laugh. This, of course, made Joe laugh as well. They left the museum and walked towards the soda shop.
“That robot’s name was Hector.” said Keppler.
“Or maybe it was 01010101.” squealed Joe.