Author : Charley Daveler
Ron electrocuted himself.
A surging pain, followed by numbness, shot up from the red wire through his arm. He slammed the torso closed, using such force that even the robot knew anger was involved.
The man’s face softened as he looked to the little machine staring up at him. The metal head blinked with wide eyes, silver shutters flashing in a very convincing manner.
“Okay,” the engineer said. “Did it work?”
The robot did not respond, uncertain on how to.
“Magellan! Did it work?”
“What were you trying to do?” it asked, its little voice still giving no inflection.
“The AI chip,” Ron spat, growing irritated. “Is it functional? Did the update work? Or did I break something?”
The robot looked himself over before shuddering the metal shielding about in a dog-like fashion.
“I do not know,” it said. “What was supposed to happen?”
The engineer did not respond, his brown eyes narrowing as he began to round the robot studiously. After a moment, he sighed and turned. Walking to the far table, the man snatched up a piece of paper. He put his glasses on.
“I’m going to ask you a few questions. You’re going to try and answer them for me.”
“I cannot try. I can only do or not do,” Magellan said.
“Shut up,” the man replied, looking the paper over. “Okay. ‘To see if you’re AI chip is overriding programming to allow for decision making, please answer the following questions as honestly as possible.’ So the first one is easy. ‘You see a spill on the ground. Do you clean it up?’”
Ron paused, staring at the robot with thoughts to press further. The man just shook his head. He continued.
“You see a supervisor tell your superior to clean up a mess. Your superior then orders you to do it. What do you do?”
“I do it.”
“You clean up the mess?”
“Because you were told to.”
Ron tapped his pencil on the paper. “Okay…”
He moaned a little, scanning through the questions quickly, then flipped the page over. “Alright. He’s a good one. ‘A teacher and your classmate are debating heatedly over an objective point the teacher made. Do you a) argue with the teacher, b) argue with the student, c) mediate, d) stay out of it?”
“I will remain silent until I am ordered to do otherwise.”
The engineer sighed, going back to the first page. “Okay. Which do you believe is more likely? Humans are the result of evolution, humans were put on Earth by God, or… humans were placed on Earth by… alien visitors.”
“It does not matter. That does not concern me.”
“It doesn’t, huh?”
The engineer wrote something down. He scratched his head with the tip of the pencil. “Alright,” he said putting the paper back on the table. “I think I already know where this is headed. Maybe I should try crossing that blue and black wire again.”
“What did I get?”
The engineer stared at his robot before huffing and turning back. He took only a few moments before fishing out the answer key from his pile of papers. Ron pulled it out and looked at it. He paused.
“It says, ‘Congratulations. Your answers are equivalent to the high school students polled. Your AI chip now allows for human decision making skills.’”
Silence filled the workroom. Ron glanced to his robot. It stared back. He look again to the paper. Ron frowned.
“Well, that’s insulting.”
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