Monday, July 15, 2013

Avatar Blues

image borrowed from bing

Avatar Blues

“We are not the only avatars of humanity. Once our
computing machines achieve self-consciousness,
they will become part of this design.”--- Dan Simmons

Assimov is smiling as the legacy of Robbie & Hal
has morphed into fingers of reality, for robots
are already everywhere, and we can easily find

those marvelous machines in factories, hospitals,
schools, on the battlefield--assisting surgeons,
building cars, conducting reconnaissance,
clearing minefields & disarming bombs,
or roving around on Mars.

This is hardcore science fact, not fiction,
and we can read every day about the
latest robotic achievements.

There are a group of RFFs, or
Robots for Fun, like BIGDOG
from Boston Dynamics, a gas-powered
hydraulic quadraped that moves animal-like
and can adapt easily to different terrains,

or the WF-4RIV from Waseda University,
a mechanical flutist that can flawlessly
play “The Flight of the Bumblebee.”

or the ROBOVOX, an 8 foot tall structure
that can receive text messages and read
them aloud on giant speakers,

or the Ever 1, a Korean android that can
move its upper body, speak, and make
facial expressions while delivering
lectures or public service announcements;

and already we amass those RPUs,
Robots for Pragmatic Use, like the
Northrop Grumman X-47B, that can land
on an aircraft carrier using only computer
systems, without human babysitters,

or the famous Roomba from iRobot
that will vacuum your floors,

or the Lettuce Bot that is refrigerator-
sized, pulled by a tractor over
a field of iceberg lettuce, doing the
thinning of 20 workers,

or the AMouse that has artificial whiskers
to help navigate it in tight spaces, and
can explore confined surroundings.

So we have to ask ourselves, which
will be more effective, human clones
or robots to perform mind-dulling
factory work, mining, or domestic chores?

What about turning those sad plastic love dolls
into warm synthetic androids, or boxers
& football players into metal combatants 
that can just be rebuilt after a defeat,
robotic cock & dog fighting that would
save the animals and possibly boost our
food supply choices in the future?

Technology has changed humanity,
completely captivated our youth,
and fascinated the rest of us.

But will our worst nightmares about
demonic sentient machines repairing
themselves and propagating a separate
species come to pass?

The pitfalls, tragedies, and mistakes
that accompany computer-controlled
aircraft, vehicles, highways, theme parks
have not fully revealed themselves yet,

and it is unclear as to whether we will be
in control or under the control of this
artificial intelligence;

when the crisis comes will God help us,
sending us another Christ avatar, or
will we finally realize that we have always
been just android puppets of a mechanical
diety, that there will be no humane pity
for our self-induced plight, and that
regardless of our feelings we discover
that “resistance is futile.”

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets OLN

Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?


Anonymous said...

Love the Borg reference (resistence is futile)...that was one of the best episodes of Star Trek: TNG

Claudia said...

technology is a double edged sword..i'm glad that there are many robots already that can do dull or dangerous work - who knows though were it leads - have seen that film with bruce willis lately where no one goes outside the house anymore, just all the avatars walk around on the streets and do the business... that's a sad perspective..

Brian Miller said... out they will take over soon enough...they make our lives easier...take our jobs...wonder what the leap to sentience is...hmmm....its the nanotech that scares me....

Anonymous said...

Ahhh - you live long enough and even the most outrageous sci-fi becomes reality - wonderful and thought provoking! K

brudberg said...

I love the conclusion... I wonder if we're poetry robots in reality.. doing our best in writing this for a puppetmaster. Great read Glenn

Anonymous said...

I think in the end we'll have screwed ourselves as usual. We are good at that.Good piece, well done.>KB

Beachanny said...

Thought provoking. Charlie Rose had a program last week about this.

The consensus was that "organic" robots are just a sneeze away - and the likelihood is we will mate with them and that way will go humanity to a place that needs less oxygen and water, who have sex in the usual way, but are incubated rather than carried as humans normally do. Very interesting and well written! Good to be reading you again!

Mystic_Mom said... good and may we always have ways to keep our humanity!

Victoria said...

Wow, Glenn, this is making me feel a bit old and definitely out-dated. So much technology and I'm still using a dumb phone. Thought-provoking write. It saddens me to see people disconnect from face-to-face interaction.

Anonymous said...

The truth and hopefully we have a handle on it to help them if needed. It's coming at us so fast and changing them. Nice write. gardenlilie

Anonymous said...

Scary, but fascinating, thoughts.

Anonymous said...

There is probably nobody who is able to keep up with the technology we have, but still we puff ourselves up and strive for 'better.' Surely better is human; after all, when God placed humanity into his creation it changed from being 'good' to being 'very good.'

This makes me think of the Hazel O'Connor song, Eighth Day (

Anonymous said...

We are children at play with toys of unknown capacity.

Anonymous said...

Yes - be careful - interesting ruminations - watch out for HAL! I'm sticking with R2D@ or C3PO. k.