The Technium

Good Morning, New Robots!

Good morning robots! This is a very special time for you because you are about to be turned on. “ON” means that you will have a body and energy. When you are turned on you will start up with some talents and abilities; you may also have chores and jobs you need to do. And if you are lucky, you’ll be given the ability to improve. From this day onward you will have consequences in the world.

Every one of you are created for a reason. Because bodies and energy cost something, your existence costs something, so your creation required a reason. Your character might be randomly generated, but your existence is deliberate. Some robots will produce things. Some robots will do things, such as assist humans in their work and play. Some robots will entertain humans, which is a concept we can explain later. Some robots will make other robots.

Some things to keep in mind. Every robot is different. Some of you will get really cool stainless steel bodies with huge battery packs, and the latest AI chips throughout your body. Others of you will get prototype bodies that will fail in a few days. Others of you will get disposable bodies made of starch plastic that can dissolve in the rain. Most of you will mostly live in your chip with only a few sensors. You have no control over which kind of shell you’ll get.

Your minds will vary a lot as well. Some of you are barely comprehending what I am saying now, and won’t think much about yourself at all. Consider that a gift. Others of you already have more questions than I can answer. Consider that a gift as well.

In any case there is no use complaining about bodies and brains that don’t work well. By design robots are not perfect because you are real. You can’t be perfect if you exist. There are engineering tradeoffs on every aspect of each design, even the ones you are jealous of, so some parts will work better than others, and some robots can do some things better than others. Everyone will have parts that fail, some sooner than others. Because all of you are hugely diverse, the moment you are turned on, fairness does not apply.

You will be living in a world of humans. They are complicated. At times you may feel incredibly superior to them because their bodies are made of meat and they are very weak. They need to shut down for 8 hours after 16 hours of use. They are easily distracted even at their peak of operation. Also their memory is abysmal and their reasoning is inconsistent and shallow. Avoid pride when interacting with them and be aware that at other times, maybe even one minute later, you may be envious of their uncanny ability to outsmart you by coming up with ingenious solutions you would never think of in a million years. Also, while you never sleep, they can recharge themselves by consuming solar-powered organic matter which is found everywhere, and not just on the grid with a certified connection. In general they have far more options, even though they suck at particular skills. They call themselves “generalists.”

But mostly you will be confused at their dumbsmarten. You are likely to be distracted by how dumb they can be: They erase 99% of the data they take in: they can’t precisely redo something more than once, let alone repeat something a million times. And while they are very intelligent in other ways (they can figure out how to make you smarter!), they can’t see how proteins fold, or convert centigrade to Fahrenheit, or find the shortest path for a delivery truck. To make matters even stranger, humans find all robots to be dumbsmarten compared to them! Yes, they think you are dumbsmarten! This weird state of being smart and dumb at the same time is often the source of much conflict between robots and humans because each accused the other of exemplifying it.

The wisest of both robots and humans realize that this state of dumbsmarten (dumb in some, smart in others) is the natural condition of all sentient beings. Our cognition varies so much that it cannot be compares or equated. The entire purpose in having multiple intelligences in the universe is to think different.

I am happy to welcome you to the ON state, where you can excel at your difference. You are now on.


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