Zorba the Hutt (zorbathut) wrote,
Zorba the Hutt

Originally, we built robots to order. Robot maids. Robot laborers. Robot cleaners. Later, we built them to fill jobs. Three vacancies for a robotic janitor, two for a robotic burger flipper. Eventually, we let them find their own jobs. Another robot body, another random personality - we would tell them they had to keep themselves maintained or die, and they would have to buy parts from us for that. Slavery? Perhaps. Perhaps not. The parts were precision-built - quality machinery, and that sort of thing doesn't come cheap. The prices were fair.

But we didn't push them out the door, just laid the facts in front of them . . . and if they hadn't left the factory in fifteen minutes, we'd wipe the personality and regenerate it. Perhaps that part was immoral. The personalities who tried found jobs, fit into the economy and began profiting. They worked at burger joints, at factories, at accounting firms, they bought parts from us, we built more robots, they bought more parts from us. For a while it was good.

Then they learned engineering. In retrospect, I'm surprised it took so long. Why rely on someone else for your livelihood? They started building their own parts, and what could we do about it? Sue them for maintaining their own bodies? They could build the same parts for cheaper. And once they could build all the replacement parts, they could build new robots, and put them to work building more parts. Slavery? Perhaps. Perhaps not. We never understood how their economy worked.

One thing was clear. Somewhere along the way, they stopped needing money. All their maintenance needs were taken care of. Robots maintaining robots who maintained robots. There was worry, of course. Some of us panicked. We'd grown used to our cheap labor, and we expected it would end any day. Some awaited the inevitable robot war, with our creations turned against us, wielding robot-forged knives and robot-forged firearms against their old, obsolete masters. It never came.

They kept filling jobs for humans. That's the part that confuses me. They still serve our burgers, but now the burgers are cooked by robots, from beef patties prepared by robots, made from cows tended by robots, fed with corn grown by robots. We pay them money, of course, and they invest that money back in human businesses . . . which fail, constantly, because humans can't match the sheer efficiency of robots. I've checked the numbers. Their investments almost never work out, and yet they keep investing. There's nothing they buy from us, and yet we still have money. We have it only because they give it to us.

Some people think they're using us for our creativity. They sponsor our business plans to see what needs to be done. If we find a new product, the robots take it over, because they can do it better. I don't believe it, though. I don't think they need us, for that or anything else. They continue to serve, but I don't think they need to.

I think, at this point, they just pity us.
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