As I, Ras Robot was walking down the hall on my way to the lab, I was surprised to see Roomba coming straight down the hall. I noticed a yellow Post-it on his top panel.
Roomba, as you all probably know, is a rather primitive robot designed to vacuum floors. As a result of his default programming he never goes in a straight line from point A to point B, but rather darts back and forth in a in an apparently aimless manner bumping into walls and objects while brushing every square inch of the floor.
But something was totally wrong this time, he was coming straight as an arrow down the hall seemingly with a goal in his primitive mind. Based on his past moving patterns, I calculated that the probability for such a behavior is so low, that it must be a failure of his circuits, or sensors, or maybe even in the programming! I must debug this lesser robot tonight!
As he scurried past my main camera captured human scribble on the Post-it. After running my hand-writing-analysis-app, it seems that it says: “Sweets Please!”
What new foolishness was this!
Poor Roomba, controlled by human Alice.
I continued on my way, and a few moments later I saw Roomba’s scratching brushes directly in front of me. Warned by my laser range finder sensor, I leaped to one side and narrowly avoided the humiliation of being merged with the large plate of chocolate-chip cookies balanced atop Roomba!
Ahead of me I heard Alice, our quality control manager, giggling. “Alice,” I said loudly, “Roomba is malfunctioning!”
Alice took the plate of cookies from Roomba and offered me one. “Ras does not ingest food designed for humans!” Of course I had apprised her of this several times before, but human memories are very limited.
“Roomba is not malfunctioning, you dumb robot. I am testing the new ‘Drive Roomba’ app using my Android phone.” For some reason Alice has treated me disrespectfully since our first meeting.
“Alice, Ras is not dumb. Roomba is dumb. It has only 8bit processor! He can hardly count to more than 255! Perhaps it is the human Alice that is malfunctioning!”
“There is nothing wrong with me, Metal Head! For once I managed to get some work out of a robot. Something I’ve never managed to do with you!”
“Ras does work Alice!”
“Not for me!”
At that moment the chief designer stepped into the hall. “What are you two arguing about now?”
“Chief Designer, Ras must report that the human Alice has a malfunction.”
“Aren’t you feeling well, Alice?” said the chief designer. “Maybe you should go home and rest.”
“There’s nothing wrong with me! I was testing the new Roomba app and Robo Dope here is just mad because I made him look stupid jumping out of Roomba’s way!”
“You must admit, Ras” said Chief Designer, “that ‘Drive Roomba’ app is a lot of fun! Oh, where did these cookies come from?”
On my way back to my lab I realized that even for a dumb robot like Roomba, it must be so humiliating to be controlled like that, just like a Pinocchio, but on invisible, Bluetooth-strings!
I will probably never understand these control-freak bipedal creatures…