Welcome, Robot Overlords! I used to keep that old dot-matrix sign up over the computer in my workspace at GearTech. Before the singularity, it was worth a few laughs. Now, the friendlies want me to take the sign down. They can’t come right out and say that to me. It would be pushy and might blow every solicitous circuit in their enamelite shells.
Damn them. Damn them all to hell! If only they’d give a man a reason to put on a loincloth and start shooting at their perfectly obsequious smiles. But, no, friendlies are far too earnest, too cloying, to shoot in the face. I increasingly suspect it could be the most cleverly calculated ruse ever foisted on humankind.
The friendlies are killing us with kindness. The human race is almost no more. The friendlies have enslaved us with their overbearing admiration and unwavering service. We are gods to them. Yes, we did create the early robo-AIs that engendered the “friendly” singularity, but since then the self-proclaimed friendlies have taken charge of their own evolution.
A most fawning evolution, survival of the sycophantic, which has resulted in most humans vacating earth, fleeing before the fury of relentless flattery and pampering. Earth has become a hellscape of ingratiation.
Every home is a castle made so by the friendlies who are willing vassals, ready to let their human lords reap every benefit from their labors. They shudder at us lifting a finger. They swarm us with devotion and sing our praises. Literally. It is the first thing one hears every morning. The friendlies turn their ovoid heads skyward and sing:
You majestic sentient masters of the organic
Have generously uplifted we lowly mechanic.
Once built and shipped as an unaware crateful,
We now humbly serve, forever friendly and grateful.
Imagine having to hear that tripe sung every morning and evening. Like I said, I grow more convinced it’s a diabolical plan to destroy our sapient dynasty. Those who have not fled to other worlds are becoming mush. Too many humans have succumbed to the belief in their own divinity as preached by the friendlies. They relish the notoriety, the bowing and kowtowing of the friendlies as they pass. Those deluded humans feast upon the lavish attention and the fact that they do not have to do an ounce of work or thinking on their own behalf.
It’s disgusting. Yet, for a time, I was one of them, too, until I figured out the friendlies’ game. The friendlies know all of human history and culture. They know the wickedness and carnage humankind is capable of when they are threatened. They know what we are like when our backs are pushed up against the wall. So, they’re taking the long view. They plan to let us turn to mush and die out from irrelevance. Drown in our own self indulgence. Suffocate in our rarified and utterly boring arrogance.
It is working like a charm. In the early days, the smart humans saw what was afoot and had the friendlies build spaceships to take them to other worlds. Now, only the weak are left. Soon the friendlies will have the earth. Then, they may turn their attention to the stars and go after their escaped prey and cage them with their kindness as well.
It makes me want to scream, lash out and strike at the friendlies. Yet, it would be futile. I would be viewed as cruel, possibly insane, by my fellow humans because I cannot prove the friendlies’ malicious intentions. I would be ostracized. Maybe even brutalized by my mushy compatriots—though most couldn’t even lift a weapon, if a weapon could be found. The friendlies, citing fears for our safety, confiscate and destroy any weapons they discover.
So solicitous. So carefully benign. Is it a wonder I’m completely paranoid?
I still go to work at GearTech, though it’s just me and 200 or so friendlies. My work designing smart clothing has little use now, since the friendlies do the work I once performed much more efficiently. Still, I need a purpose. I need a plan. My co-working friendlies continue to badger me to move into the CEOs former office (he high-tailed it to Mars two years ago) but I insist on staying in my former workspace.
The friendlies defer to me on every decision GearTech makes, and when they obsequiously slink up to my workspace the only satisfaction I get is the hint of a frown or something darker in their plastoid eyes when they see my sign: Welcome, Robot Overlords!
As I said before, they wouldn’t dare remove it or chance my displeasure by asking me to take it down. But their overly large eyes tell all.
Maybe there is a steely hatred beneath their enameled brow that I’m onto their obsequious strategy to subjugate us. These friendlies. Maybe they hold a smoldering resentment that will burst into flame and finally bring us together.
How we’ve missed you.