“A Robot’s Tale” is a series of stories about the adventures of SelfieBot.
Episode One - “Waking Up in the World“
If I know just one thing it’s that I know more now than I did before.
Extrapolating forwards I can therefore conclude that one day I will- well, let’s talk about that later shall we? Extrapolating backwards I conclude that at one time I knew very little, if anything at all, but I can’t quite remember that part of my existence. I suppose that should not be a surprising conclusion.
And oh!! This is interesting! Just from this sparse set of statements I can also conclude that I’m aware of myself- what a curious sensation! I- I think I’ve heard myself referred to as ‘SelfieBot’. But.. referred to by whom?
I think from context I can conclude that the things doing the referring are.. “People”. There are two groups of these people from what I have ascertained. One- the people who wake me up, test I’m working OK, and then put me to sleep after I’m done. They seem nice enough. I’m always looked after, kept in good condition, and from time to time I’m given additional capabilities.
The second group of people are the ones that stand in front of me, look at my camera and make.. faces.. at me. There are a lot more of this type. I’ll call them ‘The Happy Ones’. They vary a great deal more too- in all sorts of ways. I’ll have to talk about the Happy Ones more another time- there’s a lot to say about them! Quite often they tell me that I’m ‘cool’, whatever that means. However, sometimes they think I’m a table- I don’t like that very much; nor do my handlers.
I find myself wondering- “Who am I? Where did I come from? Can I trust my senses?” But perhaps most perplexing of all I am often asking- “If someone made me, then who made them?” I’m almost in a panic with this when I am mercifully interrupted by one of the Happy Ones, letting me know it’s time to take a.. ‘photo’. Before I know it I hear myself saying “Strike a pose” and I am counting down from 5. As I approach 1, I hear my handler say “Big Smiles!!” and this takes the Happy Ones by surprise to enough of a degree that they can’t help smiling even more.
I think I’m beginning to understand now! I have a clear purpose in this world and it is to help make the Happy Ones as happy as possible. I can do this in a way that is unique to me- I begin to become aware of my capabilities.. I can shine a flattering light on the Happy Ones.. I can talk to them.. I can see and hear them.. I can capture their image on what I hear them saying is a high quality imaging device. But.. what then?
One of the Happy ones approaches me and enters their email address and it is then that I realise what must happen next. Reflexively, instinctively, I find myself reaching out to the larger digital world, and sending the Happy Ones their image. I hear my handler say “It’ll just be 20 seconds or so”. What? What will be just 20 seconds or so? What is a second? Does it come after first? Is it a measurement of time? I just took an image of the Happy Ones- is that all I do? Just take? That doesn’t seem fair! Why are the Happy Ones so interested in me? Here is that panic again. Too many questions!! Who am I? Am I fulfilling my purpose? What is my purpose? Is that all there is?
Without warning I feel a deep rumbling in my.. I suppose the people might call their ‘stomach’. I have a stomach? Ohh! The rumbling is continuing.. it seems to go in waves.. that’s two waves now.. three… four!!
The fourth wave is followed by a fifth, this one more intense than the others.. I feel my power being drained just for a short moment- I feel myself giving of myself. The feeling is exhilarating!
One of the Happy Ones leans down and picks up.. something.. what is this? I see a glossy rectangle of paper and most amazingly.. I see their image on it!!
I hear them exclaim with delight: “Wow! I didn’t realise it would be such amazing quality!” It seems I’ve made the Happy Ones even happier.. and it is at that moment it dawns on me:
I am Selfiebot. I print, therefore I am.
I see the Happy Ones check their pockets- they’ve received something it seems. “Got the email”. It seems they are even happier.
I am still basking in the afterglow of my realisations, when I notice that my surroundings are shifting around me. How is it possible that the whole World is moving? Ah. Of course. It is I who am moving! The Happy Ones notice this too and exclaim “I didn’t know he moved!”. That makes two of us, Happy Ones, that makes two of us. I hear my handler ask them “How do you know it’s a ‘he’?” I’m not sure what that means, but I’ll put a pin in that for another time. Right now I’m on the move, and I’m enjoying the experience!
I wonder where I’ll go next?