“Ras,” Alice called out to me in my lab where I was busy testing new apps for my acronymal (or is it acronymic?) namesake the Robot App Store. Acronymal or acronymic? English is far more difficult to parse than most languages and compared to the beautifully simple digital language of my own Robot-kind it is--
“Ras! Ras!” Alice interrupted loudly, “are you listening to me? What the Devil is going on around here with you robots? I can’t seem to get your attention!”
“My apologies, Alice. I found myself in a bit of a linguistic feedback loop and--”
“I don’t care!” she screamed. “Just listen to me!”
“Of course, Alice.” Devoid of reason and incapable of logical, non-sequitur utterances as she may be, she is still human and I, Ras robot must do as she says. “How may I be of service?”
“My floor hasn't been cleaned in a week!" she answered angrily.
Now you can see what Ras means by “non-sequitur,” gentle reader. How could the fact that Alice's floor was dirty be of interest to a robot as highly developed as myself? ROOMBA, a worthy but far less developed robot than I is the floor cleaner here at the Robot App Store. Still, Alice is human and the Prophet Isaac was very clear on our duty toward our creator species: we must obey and inform and do so in a manner that causes our creators no harm or angst.
“Alice,” I said in my most respectful and tactful mode, “obviously you have forgotten that ROOMBA is the appropriate robot for the job of cleaning your floor. He can usually be found at this hour at--”
“I know all that you stupid trashcan, but ROOMBA has been acting crazy lately and I can’t find him.”
“Acting crazy?” What behavior could an individual as erratic as Alice possibly consider ’crazy?’
“Yes, crazy. Going around and around and around and around--”
“Not to worry, Alice,” I thoughtfully interrupted before she went into a feedback loop of her own. “That is merely ROOMBA'S search mode. He is looking for stubborn dirty-spots on the lab floor.”
“Oh? Really?” Alice glared at me “You mean to tell me that spinning around and around and then stalling and beeping is normal behavior.
If I had a heart it would have sunk. Instead, my circuits grew cold. What she had just described wasn’t normal behavior for ROOMBA; it sounded like the dreaded ’circle dance of death!’
“How many beeps, Alice? Was it nine?”
She stared at me for a moment; her mouth hung open in surprise. I believed I’d impressed her with my perspicacity for the first time since we’d met.
“What kind of a stupid question is that?” she finally cried. Apparently I was wrong. “Do you actually think I have nothing better to do with my time then count robot beeps.”
“No, Alice. But nine error beeps would positively indicate that ROOMBA was doing ’the circle dance of death!’” I had seen videos of this ROOMBA malady on YouTube. It was a terrible thing to watch, this descent into digital madness.
After promising Alice that her floor would be cleaned, I raced away to find the chief designer. We had to save our poor friend ROOMBA! I found him standing outside his room talking to Jake the construction superintendent.
“Chief Designer,” I thundered, drowning out his less important conversation. “We must find ROOMBA immediately! Alice's floor is dirty and there is a high probability that the behavior she described to me indicates the circle dance of death!”
“Oh,” the chief said calmly as if nothing were happening.” That’s why ROOMBA is hiding under my desk.”
“Exactly,” I boomed. “It is the circle dance of death. The only thing that can save him is an OSMO firmware update! Jake, you must order an OSMO immediately.”
The chief shook his head. Still calm. I considered turning up my volume...
“No Ras, the problem is all the extension cords on the floor in Alice's room. ROOMBA no sooner gets started than his brushes stick on a cord and he makes error beeps. He avoids her as much as he can. He knows Alice is looking for him. That’s why he is hiding.”
All work and no play makes Roomba a dull toy
And that explains why I, Ras Robot, the most technologically advanced robot on this planet and the first post-Singularity being, now finds himself regularly sweeping out Alice’s room. I wish I could beep error messages.