Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Robots ruin Christmas

When the history of the human race comes to be written, chances are 2005 will only be remembered as the year that the human underground resistance to the coming robot revolution got a name: HUAR. Of course that history will probably be written by the robots as a footnote to their own glorious ascension to the Godhead, but robots do believe in attribution, at least. Dave Winer may not like Christmas or Christians, but robots don't worship the Son of God, or even their own silicon equivalent. If/when the last Homo sapiens skull is crushed under the last servo-assisted mechalimb, Jesus Christ will be completely forgotten on December 25, as opposed to the current state of being mostly forgotten on that day. The recent news of a robot displaying self-recognition (although self-recognition != self-awareness) only hastens the robocalypse. As Keith of KATG said: "They'll all have to go to therapy."

My own family had about as good a Christmas as was possible, with my 91-year-old grandmother's dementia receding long enough for a smooth lunch and tea without her saying anything too outrageous, although the non-appearance of both of my sisters due to being thousands of kilometres away (Perth and Malawi respectively) made it less than perfect.

So this rumination on robots was brought on by the paucity of articles on tech.memeorandum, which is currently down to five clusters. Humans, understandably, don't blog much around Christmas. Australia is scheduled to be the first major blogging centre to recover due to timezone placements (and summer-induced boredom), which has led to the strange phenomenon of Ben Barren scoring 40% of the page's real estate with posts about cricket and valuations.

Robots keep working over Christmas, inexorable and unyielding, deaf to the sounds of Jingle Bells, ignorant of the joys of It's A Wonderful Life. I got my first telephone spam on Christmas Day this year, with a disembodied robotic voice which couldn't fake being human quite well enough informing me that I had already won a prize of at least $40 worth by taking the call. That's the way they pull you in, with promises of free prizes and hyper-real-tasting roast dinners. 2006 will play host to a series of skirmishes in the HUAR war, with Tinfinger and others on the side of the living fighting with the big guns of human-authored content against the neverending onslaught of robot-generated artillery. Whose side will you be on? Will you sell out to the automatons for that quick fix of fleeting illusion, or will you stay true to your species and enjoy the deep knowledge of a thousand generations? Your genus needs you.


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