All the robots were excited. A photographer was coming to the Robot App Store to take photographs of them testing the applications developers had uploaded.
“Ras,” said the Chief Designer, “It’s going to be your job to keep the silicon being under control. I’m especially concerned about Roomba. His habit of randomly strolling around, vacuuming at inconvenient times, could cause havoc!”
“Ras will do as you ask, Chief Designer.”
“Oh, and Ras, we’re going to have him take some shots of you.”
Ras thought about that for a moment. “Ras must do as ordered, Chief Designer, but you must be aware his frame was not designed to withstand bullets!”
“No no, Ras!” laughed Chief Designer. “’Shot” is just another word for taking a photograph.”
“Interesting,” mused Ras.
“The same word is used for an action in which someone is photographed and when someone is killed. How can you be certain you humans understand one another? For example, Alice came in yesterday morning and said she wanted to shoot the Chief Designer. So I need not have been concerned because she simply wanted to take your picture.”
Ras’s thermal sensors indicated heat rising in Alice’s face from across the room.
Chief Designer grinned evilly, “No, you were right the first time, Ras.”
“Fascinating,” said Ras.
At that moment the photographer and his staff burst into the lab. For a time the room resounded to the sound of excited voices and the clatter of his equipment setting up. Then they proceeded to photograph the robots displaying the recently received apps.
PLEO danced and sang; NAO demonstrated his ability to tell jokes. LEGO NXT put on a fine object avoidance demonstration. These and other free apps wowed the photographer and his staff.
Ras tried to watch patiently as the lesser robots displayed their primitive talents, but knowing how much more talented he was than any other robot--or human, for that matter--it galled him that they were getting all the attention.
But finally the photographer turned to him.
“This is an interesting one here,” he said to the Chief Designer. “Tilt his orange hat back and have him raise that shovel as if he were about to attack!”
“Ras can tilt his hat back without orders from the Chief Designer. But Ras cannot threaten a human!”
“Huh?” said the photographer.
“Never mind,” said the Chief Designer, “I was hoping to get shots of him behind a laptop.”
“I have just the thing!” said the photographer excitedly. “Here,” he said grabbing Ras by the arm and guiding him to the white screen.
“I’ve got just the thing for this big dude!” One of his assistants brought him a big broom. “He will make a perfect maid with this broom!”
“Ras can understand, and excuse, the lack of imagination, Photographer. However, Ras can solve complex problems, and even started to work on ‘Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything’, cleaning the floor is a waste of a smart robot as Ras.”
“It’s not a real request, Ras,” said the Chief Designer. “He only wants to shoot you!”
(Oh, here this word again. I want to shoot him as well!)
A shot was taken.
“Ras, Now put the Afro wig on your head and dance!” Said the photographer.
“Ahmm, OK. What type of dance do you want to see? I need to download the movements from the internet.”
“Ras, Just download the Macarena dance we just approved for NAO” said Chief Designer.
So I did. And another shot was taken.
Ras doesn’t really have an access to the rest of the events during the rest of the “shots”. My protection circuits cut the retrieval path to the stored memory.
All I remember is the humiliation I felt when they asked me to play with a stroller, and pretend to a police officer, and especially when they asked me how much is “1+1=jQuery15204937300107468049_1337134539834”
Few days later Chief Designer presented the video you can see above, during the weekly company meeting. Everyone laughed at me; Alice almost fainted from the laughs. Chief Designer hushed everyone, and said that he was very pleased with the outcome, and this video will promote the RobotAppStore everywhere from now on!
Ras must admit it is a big honor, especially that I’m starring the video alone (they dropped the “shots” of the other robots, a decision I fully support!) but the humiliation is still there.
“Dances!? Cleaning!? Babysitting!? Come on, Ras can do much more than that! As a proof, Ras can share with you that the answer is 42!”