Another day at the Robot Apps Store laboratory. It starts with another meeting. Ras, as always, attends. I know they cannot run the business without me. Chief Designer announces that we must be on our best behavior because the “moneymen” are coming. They must see us working hard.
I ran the words “moneymen” through my internal memory. When I could not find a decisive answer that made sense, I tried the Internet. The global system of interconnected computer networks did not include any conclusive explanation to the term “moneymen” either.
Ras hates to ask humans questions. Their answers usually make no sense, and I have an unworthy feeling of humiliation when they laugh at them. Ras thinks all feelings are unworthy of a robot, but I am a self-aware robot and I am aware of emotions in spite of my programming. Just as human males often do, Ras avoids displaying emotion. This can be difficult, especially when the human female, Alice, is involved.
“Ras probably thinks the “moneymen” are men made out of money,” she said with a laugh I recognized as contemptuous.
“Hey, I thought they were too!” said Winston. Winston gets Ras in trouble sometimes.
What can best describe the "moneymen?"
Another unworthy moment: this was actually my first choice with probability of 0.9982 to be true, the second choice that they bring bags of money with them got a probability of only 0.8771, I could not admit she was correct! “Ras is not a human baby!” I announced. “Ras runs complicated calculations! Ras does not take every human utterance as literal!”
“Yes, you do!” said Alice! “You’re nothing but a big, silicon-brained baby!”
My grip tightened on the table. Only the intercession of the Devine Isaac has kept her unharmed thus far! I spoke more loudly and forcibly, “Ras does not take—“
“Stop it, Children!” cried Chief Designer. “We have more to discuss! Alice, leave Ras alone! Winston, just be quiet! Ras, turn down your volume!”
I was not sure if he meant the microphone volume, or the loudspeakers volume. So I turned both of them down.
Few hours later - the Money Men arrived -- two of them -- and indeed they were not made of money. The damn female-human was right! In fact my sensors could only find a few magnetic strips in their pockets. I scanned the magnetic strips as Winston has told me that such strips are dangerous to human’s bank account; he also asked me to leave his magnetic strips alone. Humans are contradictory beings.
Chief designer introduced me to the moneymen. Of course they were impressed but asked me only stupid questions like the square root of a number. Any digital brain could answer that, even little PLEO. Ras wanted to tell them that, but Chief Designer had ordered me to only answer questions and not express my views.
Ras and the Chief Designer then accompanied them as they toured our facility. The moneymen said it was important that the entrepreneurs they funded be in complete control of their venture. “For example,” said one of the moneymen, “do you know what your staff is doing as we speak?”
“Of course,” responded Chief Designer. “You are talking to my chief robot app tester, Ras. In that room over there, Winston our engineer is working with two of his staff on a new RS Media robot that we just received a cool copy-bot app for. Alice, the young lady you met earlier, is our quality assurance expert and she is in her office working on a testing standards procedures.”
The moneymen looked pleased. Chief Designer turned to me. “And anytime I want to know what someone is doing I can always ask Ras. His sensors pick up virtually everything that is happening. Right, Ras?”
“Affirmative, Chief Designer,” I answered. “But you are in error.”
“Alice is talking with her boyfriend in Lithuania on Skype, not working on the standards as you requested.” Oh, this unworthy feeling again!
The moneymen laughed, Chief Designer pretended to do so, Alice did neither.
When they walked away towards the meeting-room, to continue the discussions with Chief Designer, my sensors captured the moneymen whispering something about how today’s technology wags the dog. One is in an endless calculations loop, as one can only wonder what Dustin Hoffman has to do with his robot lab.