J Bov Explodes Rhetorically

A View Of My Emotional Attachment to Robots

I’ve always thought robots were cool. They really are; most males aged about 10 and up think this. Some move on and stop caring, forgetting about what were essentially characters of stories that could well have been human. Others, like myself, maintain a viewpoint of robots as not just cool characters, but important elements in the technological evolution of humanity.
That’s why I love Asimov’s robot stories. Many of these involve robots as parables for the human condition. Emotional tales of machines that are sometimes more ‘human’ than their creators.

There’s one point stuck in my memory where I realised the emotional significance of robots:
A group of primary school children in Japan were introduced to Asimo, Honda’s advanced robot that’s capable of running, climbing stairs and so on.
After some brief introductions (Asimo bows and waves hell to the children) there were many questions.
What does Asimo do for fun? (Dances, apparently).
How much did he cost?
How fast can he run?
Then after a short pause a tentative hand is raised from the back of the group.
One small boy, who will grow into a genius in my opinion, asked a question that is beautiful in it’s simplicity and scope. A question that signifies an important turning point in this child’s life, whether he knows it or not.
The question, after seeing Asimo standing stock still awaiting commands, was thus:
“Is he sad?”
Isn’t that wonderful?
In response the spokesperson hastily replied ‘Oh, no, Asimo isn’t sad! Look!’
Then, to prove how happy he was, the people by the controls made Asimo dance.
It bares repeating.
They made him dance.

That’s heartbreaking. I can’t be the only person who thinks so. When I’m quite tired it brings me close to tears, if I’m honest.
This story is so touching. It’s so sad.
Some people will be confused, to those people I say sorry, I can’t explain myself. It just hits me right in the heart whenever I remember it.

J Bov.