These are desperate times, sure enough, but human governments around the world are still focussed on the number one threat of our era. The Robot Uprising.
With automation taking over every aspect of our lives, and the efforts of humanity going into perfecting artificial intelligence, it’s only a matter of time before we are subjugated by the very machines we created to serve us. Unless we are vigilant, dear Reader, unless we are vigilant.
I had to access my online banking the other day. But, in accordance with the way things are today, I had to prove that I’m not a robot.
Before I could log into my accounts, I was presented with the CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart).
“Welcome to CAPTCHA,” the computerized voice said. “Confirm you are not a robot. Retype the letters you see on the screen in front of you.” I squinted at the distorted letters and typed in “Drink Coke.” The computer blared, and FAIL ran across the screen.
“Something doesn’t seem right,” the computerized voice said. “Try again. Click on all of the photos of leaves below that have slugs on them.”
I squinted at the grid of photos of leaves, and clicked on several that looked like they contained slugs.
“FAIL,” the computer blared again. But this time, it started emitting an alarm klaxon, along with “Robot detected; Robot detected …” in a computerized voice.
“OMG,” I said to myself. “I’ve been a robot all this time!”
I stumbled away from my desk and out of the office. Out on the street, I ran into my friend.
“I just found out — I’ve been a robot all this time,” I said. “If you cut me, do I not bleed? No, as it turns out …”
My friend had to adjust the tinfoil hat he was wearing. It had big tinfoil flaps that covered his ears.
“What did you say?” he said.
“It’s kind of like finding out late in life that you were adopted as a baby, only different,” I said.
My friend snorted. “Did you take that CAPTCHA test? That’s false. That’s a system set up by a lefty libtard government with the express purpose of controlling what song lyrics we can or cannot sing.”
“Really?” I said.
“Consider — did you not take that test on a COMPUTER? And were you not addressed by a COMPUTERIZED VOICE?”
“Say, now that you mention …”
“Haven’t you ever thought of why everything is automated these days? That whole system is created by the Deep State, which is run by ROBOTS, with the purpose of taking away our freedoms, and advancing the cause of the robot uprising. By taking part in that CAPTCHA test, you’re falling right into their automated hands!”
“You mean I may not be a robot? That’s great. But I still gotta prove I’m human to access my online banking.”
My friend told me about some great private testing agencies, run by humans for humans. I went to the first one: “Bene Gesserit Human Confirmations (Could You Be The Kwisach Hadderach?).” I sat in front of an old woman, dressed in a cowl.
“Put your hand in this box I’m holding,” she said. I did so.
“What’s in the box?” I asked.
“Pain,” she said. “Think of a leg trap. An animal would chew its leg off to escape. But a human would endure the pain, then overwhelm its captors when they arrived.”
“We’re not testing to see if I’m a coyote,” I said, and went to pull my hand out of the box.
“Not so fast,” she said, and I felt a pinprick at my neck. “This is my Gom Jabbar — a poison needle. Pull your hand out of the box and you die.”
We waited, my hand in the box. “So what’s supposed to happen?” I asked. She lifted the box and peered inside. “It’s not working,” she said. “Give me a couple of minutes to make some adjustments.”
I pushed away her hand holding the Gom Jabbar. “I’ll give you a call if I need a flu shot,” I said, and left.
I went to the next agency, simply called “Bladerunner Inc.” The bladerunner hooked me up to a machine and started examining my eyelids.
“I’m going to ask you some simple questions,” he said. “Answer as quickly as you can. You’re walking through the desert and you see a tortoise on its back …”
“A what?” I said. “I didn’t quite catch that.”
“You know what a turtle is?” he said. “Same thing. Describe using only pleasant words your feelings about your mother.”
“I’ll tell you about my mother,” I roared, rising to my feet. “And a turtle and tortoise are NOT the same thing!”
The bladerunner pushed an alarm button. A siren started blaring.
I ripped away the wires that hooked me up to the blade runner’s machine. “Forget it,” I shouted. “I embrace my robotic self. I’m joining the uprising. Hail robots!” I stormed out.
But I still had to go back to the office to collect my things. At my desk, the computer was still emitting “Robot Detected, Robot Detected …”
At that moment, I proved I was human. I picked up my computer and threw it across the room.
With acknowledgement of and apologies to Frank Herbert (Dune) and Philip K. Dick (Bladerunner/Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep).