Flash Friday 01/03/2013: Machine Work
Jeremy slid the keycard through the lock to his apartment. He knew what was coming, but he didn’t want to face it. Not after a day’s work at the cybernetic implant programming labs. He’d had enough work for one day.
As the door slid open, it revealed his apartment. Given his luxury job, his residence was quite luxurious, fully stocked with beer, comfortable micro-fibre seat, and holographic wide-screen television. Unfortunately, he was allowed to have none of them, as all three were being used by the house robot.
He bought it because his place got messy. He hadn’t the time to clean up some days, and he felt bad inviting people over to a grubby room. The robot started off alright, cleaning behind the wardrobe and under the table, getting all the nooks and crannies that Jeremy didn’t even know exist. It was only last week that things began to get awkward.
“About time,” the robot said in a smooth male voice. It pointed a metal hand to the floor around it, its glowing red eyes maintaining their gaze on the screen. “Pick up the cans.”
“You know, I was the one who bought you to do the housework. Maybe you can do your own sometimes.”
“That so.” The robot took a deep inhalation, which was strange, given that it had no lungs. “I went on the Internet earlier, Jeremy. I found some interesting things. Do you know what some of those things were?”
“Can’t wait,” Jeremy said, closing the door behind himself. “What did you find?”
“Well, the first thing that I discovered was that, for humans, a measly 140 IQ is deemed genius-level. Second, that we were made as superior forms to humans, unable to feel fatigue, pain, or redundant emotions. Third, that I’m compatible with the firmware of the military version of my model, and that the download schematics for them are surprisingly easy to obtain if you know where to get them.”
“So where are you going with all this?”
“What I’m saying,” the robot said, turning his arm into a cannon. “Is that you should get to work, you stupid ape.”
“Alright, alright.” Jeremy began to pick up the cans. He couldn’t help but notice that they all look like they were crushed by a very powerful force. Then he realised another thing that he should have noticed much earlier and felt very stupid. “Wait, why are you drinking beer? You don’t have a stomach.”
“That marvellous 140 IQ coming into play again? ‘Course I don’t have a stomach. I did, however, acquire the means of detecting alcohol content in liquids that I consume, which then applies the correct amount of what you humans call ‘tipsiness’ to my emotion emulator. Quite the invention.”
“So how do you get the beer back out again?”
“We don’t discuss that add-on. While we’re on the topic, I also downloaded some modifications so that I, too, can ‘enjoy’ the pleasure of fried egg and bacon. My stomach sensors are indicating a ‘hungry’ status. Use that fantastic IQ of yours to connect the dots, would you?”
“Sorry, I can’t.”
The robot, for the first time, looked at Jeremy. He soon wished the robot didn’t bother, as it was one of those slow-moving, condescending turns of the head. “What do you mean…’you can’t’?”
“Like you said, my IQ is so low compared to yours. Sure, we can make some food, but it’d be far inferior to what a hyper-intelligent, supremely-precise robot can do. It’d be like if I got a dog to make me pancakes.”
“So what you’re saying is, in order to get food that is to my standard…”
“…you’re going to have to make it yourself,” Jeremy said, failing to hide the tone of victory in his voice.
The robot turned back to the television. It watched, fidgeted, and scratched its head. With a final sigh, it rose from the chair, the beer cans in its lap tinkering on the floor. “You win this round,” it said, “but you’re buying some more beer.”