To be Human

Author : Samuel Stapleton

“Hey Doc,” I said as I leaned into the recliner.

“Ian, so good to see you again. I hope everything is relatively okay. Why am I seeing you today?” She said softly.

“Straight to the point, huh?”

“You and I know each other well enough, I recognize you must have something you feel you need to talk to me about.” She said. I nodded the affirmative.

“I’m human. Or rather I…I feel human,” I said in a near whisper. Her face split into a wonderful smile, I couldn’t help but return it in kind. We sat for a moment, stupid grins on both of our faces until I cleared my throat.

“Um. I just. I don’t know what this means, for myself. Or I’m not sure…how I feel, is the problem.” She nodded her head gently but motioned with her hand.

“Keep going, I want you to hear what you have to say,” she said, her voice having retained more of a professional tone again.

“I know I’m not a human. I know exactly what I am, and that people who really know me know what I am. One of the eleven-hundred. But I was walking to work the other day and I…saw this woman walking her dog and…just out of nowhere asked her if I could pet it. And she said yes and started telling me about it, Chauncy, and before i knew it she asked for my comm number.”

Dr. Reed kept her face plain, doing her best not to react too much in either direction as she took in this new development.

“So,” she said, “will you pursue this friendship, perhaps more? These are all perfectly normal feelings it seems.”

“I…she’s a few years younger than me, middle twenties if I had to guess. And she’s beautiful, stunning really. I just…I don’t know.”

There was a long moment of silence.

“I would have to tell her eventually and…I mean could you do it doc? Could you love a robot?” I asked in earnest. She scoffed at me.

“Ian, my coffee maker is a robot, cars are robots, hell – many things in this world are robotic, but you are the most advanced bio-mech synthetic humanoid humanity has ever developed. Robot doesn’t begin to cover it and you know it. Not only that, there’s only one-thousand and ninety-nine others, not one of which is like you. You have DNA even though you are technically a machine. You have a brain comparable to a human, and you have a personality unique in all of history – just like every other person on earth.” She took a deep breath and waited.

“As always doc, everything you say is true, very down-to-earth, but I guess thinking it, and feeling it, are much more different than I imagined.”

“Ian, if I spoke only with you through comms or chat, I would only ever be able to label you as a healthy, functioning adult male. I don’t think you should stress over it. Yes, there will be people who have a problem with you over what you are, but that’s what it is to be human. There are always people who’ll stand against you, no matter how trivial the reason. Race, religion, intelligence, upbringing, background, robot or not.” She finished.

A thought occurred to me and I laughed aloud.

“So doc. Does that make this a diagnosis, or a diagnostic?”

She smiled at me for a moment, human to human, and shrugged.



  1. Jae

    Gentle piece with a fine moral alongside the story.

  2. SimonJM

    Cogito ergo …?
    Nice, gentle exploration of what it means ‘to be’.

    • kohlersc

      Indeed. But I picked up and enjoyed more the point that someone out there will always have an issue with you no matter what makes you different…and that won’t go away, so don’t live as if you are different.

      • 13thdefender

        you are as wise as the therapist

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