i-Bot

e-Book: “How things Are.”
Chapter 78: Robots, Cyborgs and Avatars.
Author: Brian Ungle, Gnd.Dip-Ed.

The “Sentients Charter” bans the manufacturing of robots, cyborgs or other ‘artificial constructs’ in the likeness of a ‘true human’. What this means is that no robotic construct is allowed to take on the visage of a human in an attempt to pass itself off as anything other than a non-sentient machine. Robots must always be easily identifiable as Robots that includes the wearing of clothes, masks or other devices designed to “humanise” their appearance.
Robotics’ companies have been trying to stretch the law as far as possible ever since it came into power, but the i-Bot™ plays safe with superficial similarity to human anatomy and a decidedly un-human visage (albeit one that surveys found to be “harmless” “lovable” and even “Huggable” {I consulted on that visage, so ‘quelle surpise!’})

The i-Bot has out-sold every other DS type robot on the market thanks to its pseudo-Turing routines and its impressive dexterity and locomotive capabilities; thereby providing a steady and lucrative income stream for Robototekhnika Zakrytoe aktionernoye obshchestvo. (Robototekhnika ZAO inherited the “i-brand™” following the net-sale acquisition of various companies after the American Re-Unification War finally ground to a halt after the disaster that was ‘The Line’ in Greater California)

DS-stream robots are primarily designed for domestic services, house cleaning, laundry, cooking, waiting, greeting and other common household chores and their pseudo-Turing routines are amongst the best ever created: whilst they cannot pass a True-Turing Test (TTT: revision 167p.ii) they are, nonetheless, extremely good at imitating humans and can carry out reasonable conversations in many social circumstances. The combination of pseudo-conversational capabilities and their “lovable looks” made them instantly popular even without the later “i-Sports” upgrade package which allowed them to compete reasonably proficiently at many single-player spots, such as Tennis, Squash, Dodgeball, baseball pitching/catching, Net-Cricket: essentially any ‘social sport’ whereby team-integration of any sort is not-required: As with all Robots the lack of any true AI renders them inefficient in rapidly changing environments, such as those commonly found in team sports, where intelligent, adaptive integration between team-members is required.
They are also very good at exercising pets (not, as one lady from Karabang tried, ‘exorcising’ them!), mowing the lawn, doing the dishes and even some basic DIY chores… although there are also several low-level lawsuits pending for I-Bot DIY Disasters and Robototekhnika ZAO do make it clear that any such use is outside of standard warranty cover.

Their popularity has naturally also made them a popular target for Humanists, Retro’s and a wide variety of anti-social memetic-induced attacks, although the prevalence of such attacks is usually confined to lower TQ Habitats and mostly where the i-Bot has wandered into a location that its owner should not have allowed it to have gone in the first-place. Such situations are most common on Earth and other large planetary body habitats where mixed TQ Habitats co-exist on the same landmass or spatial structure.

All i-Bots (as are all Robots) 4-Laws compliant and have shown their willingness to endanger themselves to save biologicals from harm or danger. It should be stressed that this is not an instance of self-determination as no Robots are sentient (and therefore incapable of self-determination): this is merely an example of good programming.

Illegal ‘hacks’ that claim to remove certain safety protocols within I-Bots have been circulated widely and commented upon ad-nauseum over Tech-Net and even GOT-Net, but in all cases the suggested programs merely open the user up to their i-Bot becoming a node for heavy marketing, zombie-distribution and various other e-net SPAM, marketing or mass-distribution sub-systems.