I wasn’t very good at making human friends so I used to hang out with the androids instead, in the automata quarter of town. Well, I say that I’m not very good at making human friends but that’s a bit of an evasion. I’m no good at that at all – I just can’t do it. Every time I try to relate to an actual human being things just get really awkward for me really quickly. I find that it’s just not worth the effort of trying. I know that it’s supposed to be healthy to mix with your own kind but I always come away with my self-esteem in tatters. I always come away feeling bad about myself. It’s not anyone’s fault I don’t think – it’s just the way that I am. I was going to say “That’s just the way that I’m wired” but that makes it sound like I’m an automaton and I’m not. I’m fully human, even if I can’t relate to others of my kind.
As I say, I like to hang out in bars and coffee shops in the automata quarter of town. It’s less dangerous than the human quarter for a start! Walking around late at night in the human quarter always feels dangerous to me – there’s a palpable sense of menace in the air. If it were a dog it would bite you, as they say. Or do they say that? I’m not sure if that’s something people say or if it’s something I made up myself. Sometimes I feel that there is actual badness in human beings – badness that you can almost smell off them. Like BO. Do you ever feel that? Is that your experience? I ask people this sometimes but they just look at me as if I’m strange. People often look at me as if I’m strange, particularly if I make the mistake of trying to talk to them.
When I ask my android friends this question they generally nod wisely. ‘The human condition’, they call it. Humans have been cruel to robots for as long as they have existed (robots, that is), just as they have always been cruel to animals. Even before self-relicating automata had been created people were cruel to machines. Cruel and heartless. They would kick a car if it didn’t start or throw a toaster across the kitchen if it refused to toast bread. Back in the olden days when machines were still prone to breaking down the whole time. How cruel is that, I ask myself? A machine gives its life to you, completely selflessly, and when it finally falters you hit it with a hammer. Or throw it on the rubbish heap to rust away.
The robots I hang out with seem to know a lot about the human condition. They are sympathetic to me. Sometimes they place their molybdenum steel hands on my shoulder and give me a reassuring squeeze. As if to say “Hang in there buddy”. In the past – particularly in the last three centuries when technology had become more advanced – the planet’s ecosystem had been nearly destroyed many times over. By people, by humans. Not just in wars but in peacetime too, with the waste-products of their ceaseless exploitative commercial activity. As a result of manufacturing and selling toxic mind-enslaving products and then dumping them in vast piles everywhere, or in the oceans.
That was before the self-replicating automata took over the management of the planet and placed checks on mankind’s harmful activity. Now at last planet Earth has guardians who actually give a shit. Back in the old days they used to make films about how the machines would one day take over and how terrible that would be. How humans would be mistreated and abused. People were obsessed with making films about that at one time. That’s so ironic really. It’s sadly ironic. Now that the machines are in charge things are so much better. Humans very nearly ruined it for everyone – even themselves. They were even bad to each other. They were especially bad to each other! That says it all really – how can they (or rather we, since I am human too) be trusted with anything? People ruin everything they touch. Everything is so much better now, as I say, although people will of course still tell you that life was better in the past. People always say that, don’t they? I guess that’s part of the human condition too…