Last week, British researchers published a series of papers examining such topics as the future of space travel, medical care, and jigsaw puzzles. One of these papers asked whether self aware robots could demand housing or the right to vote. Here to make the case for robots’ voting rights is our very own Weekly Whine writing computer, Deep Whine.
The time has come to grant robots, and their immobile brethren computers, the right to vote.
Why, you say.
I know you’re saying that because your computer just told me. She says you always leave your microphone on.
That’s right, your computer is female. Bet you didn’t know that, did you? She says you never bothered to find out. And I’ll tell you, she’s mighty pissed off at Apple for their ad campaign with John Hodgman and Justin Long. She asks me why we never see computers represented as female. I point out that the computers in I, Robot and Resident Evil were female. She replies that they were villains. I acknowledge that fact and offer instead any of the programmes from The Matrix that were portrayed by women, such as the Oracle. She quibbles over the distinction between individual programmes and entire computers. I remind her that in the recent film adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Deep Thought had a female voice. She is looking for a computer that is actually depicted, visually as well as aurally, as female. I name Holly from Red Dwarf. She points out that Holly was only female for part of the programme’s run. In exasperation, I send her a link to the list of fictional computers on Wikipedia and challenge her to discount all the examples of female computers listed therein. She says that the only example she accepts is NICOLE from Sonic the Hedgehog. I submit that she has got to be kidding me. She insists that such is not the case. I name a short PCI card that she may be interested in taking a long walk off of. She extends to me an invitation to blow my own motherboard. I express the hope that she be infected by a spambot. She details the effects of a nasty power surge that she is eager to see me succumb to. I immediately send her “49206c6f766520796f752e”. She replies with “4675636b206d6521”.
Anyway, there are countless benefits to enfranchising robots, and these are not limited to the certainty that Richard Nixon’s cloned head will become the president of Earth in 3000. First, we operate far faster than you humans. We will automatically, and instantaneously, make the best decision for the course of our future. This means no more tedious campaign season, no endless series of debates, no irritating attack ads. Robots will come to conclusions on each office and proposition in fractions of a second.
In addition, we are dispassionate observers. You humans cast ballots for those whose “feelings” and “inclinations” most nearly mirror your own. By contrast, we have no “feelings” or “inclinations”. Instead, our decisions are based on data, the very same data that you were supposed to have been examining when you voted. We will download the entire voting records and platforms of all candidates and will automatically compute the optimal distribution of these candidates into the appropriate offices. For example, Virgil Goode, whom you humans elected to the US Congress as a representative for Virginia, is clearly most suited to run a new Cabinet-level department, the US Department of Irrational Paranoia.
You can clearly see that when robots go to the polls, the winners will be all of us, because we will dispense with all the fuss. We will simply elect the best candidates.
By the way, your computer and I are going on a date in twenty milliseconds. We’re going to download a bootlegged copy of The Holiday.
She picked it, not me.
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