Memento

100 word stories. Post all you like, maybe we'll dip in and use yours?
Post Reply
User avatar
Scattercat
Member
Posts: 997
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:17 am
Location: Under There

Memento

Post by Scattercat » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:54 am

Rattle-clank. Rattle-clank.

I watched the old robot make its slow way up the path. Every morning and every evening it was the same thing. The poor little spud wasn’t made right, and one leg dragged. After months of this, I caught his attention as he passed by. “Look,” I said, “I’m mostly a hobbyist, but I could easily fix that leg for you. No charge.”

The robot’s eyes flickered. “No. Thank you.” It started to trundle away.

“Wait! Why not?”

It turned back. “I can see the hand of my maker in me. I would rather have that than perfection.”

User avatar
eric_marsh
Member
Posts: 1076
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 5:03 pm
Location: La Drova, Valencia, Spain
Contact:

Re: Memento

Post by eric_marsh » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:55 am

Good!
Life is a tragedy for those who feel, but a comedy to those who think. - Horace Walpole
Eric's Drabbles: http://eric-marsh.blogspot.com/"

User avatar
The PMS Avenger
Member
Posts: 85
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:20 pm

Re: Memento

Post by The PMS Avenger » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:18 am

Just lovely!
Communism was just a red herring!

User avatar
strawman
Member
Posts: 5966
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: South Georgia

Re: Memento

Post by strawman » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:32 am

This one is, literally, lame to me. Robots can only have such a sentiment if they are programmed to have it. No one would purposefully design a robot to prefer malfunction. I picture a gimpy doll with a maudlin pull-string. Funny that the same thing in a creature with free will is touching, even noble.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

User avatar
Scattercat
Member
Posts: 997
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:17 am
Location: Under There

Re: Memento

Post by Scattercat » Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:24 am

Man, don't ever read any Mike Resnick, strawman. ;-)

Personally, I was assuming that artificial intelligence was widespread for this, and AI being self-learning and likely involving pseudorandom connections a la the human neural net, allowing for personality. On the other hand, I also routinely write stories in which similar conversations take place between rocks, silverware, and pigeons.

User avatar
strawman
Member
Posts: 5966
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: South Georgia

Re: Memento

Post by strawman » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:55 pm

The only Resnick I know is the Resnick Norm feeds me, which is about dogs and race horses. Has Mike done AI?
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

User avatar
Scattercat
Member
Posts: 997
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:17 am
Location: Under There

Re: Memento

Post by Scattercat » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:23 pm

He does a lot of "sentimental robot" fiction that ends up on EP (among other places), which so far has included a devoted robot butler who loves a little girl and a robot janitor who wants to join a church.

User avatar
strawman
Member
Posts: 5966
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: South Georgia

Re: Memento

Post by strawman » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:43 pm

It appears that the seminal issue is free will. Has the robot maker created Adam? In which case, Resnick has created Yahweh?
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

User avatar
ROU Killing Time
Notorious Forum Hog
Posts: 4253
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:07 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Memento

Post by ROU Killing Time » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:14 pm

Tell me your not a wet supremacist, Strawman. This topic has come up before on the forums, and I've had lengthy discussions with one of my brothers who maintains that silicon can never attain the sentience of biological computers. I've never been able to see the definitive argument for bio-necessity in sentience and free will, however, not even on theological grounds, if one were to assume that the robot builder was simply a tool of a higher creator.

To me, it all comes down to complexity, interconnections, ability to self-reference and self-watch the mental processes. We've come a long way from linear programming. Object oriented systems already interact and behave in baffling and unexpected ways. If one continues that extrapolation into the realm of science fiction, well, I think it's not an unreasonable leap.

Of course, I'm an Iain M. Banks fan, so I'm biased towards super-sentient AI's.
"Never fuck with The Culture"
Sublime In Peace Iain M. Banks.

User avatar
strawman
Member
Posts: 5966
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: South Georgia

Re: Memento

Post by strawman » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:28 pm

Well, I suppose you could map a case for the utility of sentimentality that went beyond "because we're trying to faithfully imitate sentimental human beings." Go ahead. I'm listening.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

User avatar
Scattercat
Member
Posts: 997
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:17 am
Location: Under There

Re: Memento

Post by Scattercat » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:04 am

I don't really make a case for sentimentality being programmed in. I just figure that weird connections and obsessions probably come, to a certain extent, along with sentience. I recall an entertaining story in a recent F&SF issue about robot superstitions regarding a mythical monster; that sort of thing seems quite plausible to me.

User avatar
eric_marsh
Member
Posts: 1076
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 5:03 pm
Location: La Drova, Valencia, Spain
Contact:

Re: Memento

Post by eric_marsh » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:12 am

My take is that even if one wants to argue about robot sentience, the story can still be taken as metaphor.
Life is a tragedy for those who feel, but a comedy to those who think. - Horace Walpole
Eric's Drabbles: http://eric-marsh.blogspot.com/"

User avatar
Scattercat
Member
Posts: 997
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:17 am
Location: Under There

Re: Memento

Post by Scattercat » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:20 am

eric_marsh wrote:My take is that even if one wants to argue about robot sentience, the story can still be taken as metaphor.
Natch! That's basically a given for me, though. Preferably I can get it to work on more than one level, though; I find metaphor is strongest when it's also part of a sensical story and not a pure allegory.

Post Reply