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Please enjoy this work of fiction and drop your thoughts (as always) in the comment section. ♥️✨
Nigerian Institute of Robotics and Robotic Engineering (N.I.R.R.E), Lagos Headquarters.
The glass door of the lab parted ways and a young lady in white lab coat hurriedly walked through it.
“Doctor Tade”, RB 165 called as she stepped into the corridor.
“Hey RB 165, may I help you?”
“Professor C.K wishes to see you”, it said and left.
She gave a slight nod and walked towards Professor Chukwuma’s office but was stopped by RB 144.
“Hey doctor! I suddenly had a power off last night, just came around this morning. You know what’s wrong with me?”
“Your internal board must have been weakened. Go wait in the RB control office, I will see you in a few minutes”, she said.
The robot turned towards the direction of another hallway.
“And RB 144, when did you last get charged?”
It stopped and turned back.
“Five days ago, doctor”, it replied.
“Ok, go, I’ll see you”. She proceeded to Professor Chukwuma’s office.
“You’re welcome. Professor Chukwuma is on the lower floor, ” a robotic voice announced. She took the elevator to the lower floor.
“Second floor”, she said to the elevator.
Doctor Tade felt the usual tingle she feels each time she took the elevator. The speed of the elevator had increased over the years. It moves twice the speed of an object in free fall. It has been designed to give buoyancy to whosoever is on it such that the speed doesn’t have an impact on whoever takes the elevator.
“You’re now on the second floor”, A robotic voice said. The elevator door opened. The second floor was where the conference Hall was; all robotic engineers, doctors of robotics, professor of robotics met there. If anything, she guessed there was a meeting she wasn’t pre-informed about. She took a mobile motor to the conference Hall. The mobile motor is in every company these days, it’s an indoor mini car that travels over a short distance.
“Your PRB please?” the robot who stood in front of the conference Hall door asked.
“T.D 5, ” she replied.
The door automatically opened. She guessed right, it was a meeting. All 25 pairs of eyes were on her, she felt a little bit embarrassed. She must have been late so she took a sit.
“Doctor Tade, you’re welcome, ”
Professor Chukwuma greeted. He was the most senior professor and the head of N.I.R.R.E. It was a meeting for the doctors and professors, she didn’t see any of the young robotic engineers around.
“So, fellow learned colleagues, let me get straight to the point. In the United States as we all know, for every five humans counted there is one robot such that the ratio of robots to human is 1:5. In China, due to their large population, it is 1 robot to 10 people. In Taiwan, it is one robot to one person. In all of Europe, North and South America and a large part of Asia, robots are now a part of their daily lives. Here in Africa, that is not the case, only South Africa can boast of one robot to 100 persons.
The United States has therefore decided to help us out. Yesterday, President Oliver Max had put out an order that 50,000 robots be shipped to Africa for the next 12 month till the ratio of human to robots becomes 1:10. According to him each country that wants the shipment will have to pay 5 billion dollars once, and to me that’s quite cheap for such a shipment. As I expected it to be, the Nigerian government is happy about this and has been one of the first ten countries to agree to the shipment.
The minister of Foreign Affairs alongside the minister for Robotic Engineering had called me yesterday to seek my opinion on this; if the government should go ahead and pay the required 5 billion dollars or not. I, however, realized it wasn’t a decision that requires only my consent which is why I decided to call the experts in this our, field. Now please, let me know your opinions”, he explained and sat down.
All hands went up. Everyone had something to say about the matter.
“Professor Jude, you go first”, Professor Chukwuma said.
“I think it isn’t anything of a good idea, I would advise we shouldn’t agree to such thing”, he opined.
“What’s your reason, sir?” Professor Chukwuma asked.
“Sir! As we all know, robots can only be programmed once. We do not know what type of programming this robots has, we can’t just go ahead and order for robots we don’t know what program they have”, Professor Jude explained.
“We all know the rules guiding robotic programming Professor Jude, and there are only three laws guiding robotic programming. Firstly, they are programmed to obey all positive information and commands from humans. Secondly, they are not to do anything negative and thirdly, they are to obey law one and two. I do not have to recite these laws to experts like you, they are what a first year robotic engineering student would know with ease. And these laws we know are universal, so I think you should look for another good reason”, Professor Chukwuma submitted.
“Sir, with all due respect, robots can be programmed in whatever way. Those are just laws and laws are meant to be broken. It isn’t like aside those laws, there’s no programming. Robots can be programmed anyhow sir; negative programming and positive programming”, Professor Anita argued.
Someone stood up clumsily from the far end of the hall, interrupting Professor Chukwuma before he could respond to Professor Anita.
All eyes turned to the doctor who was slightly embarrassed by his clumsiness.
“Yes, Doctor Dapo?” Professor Chukwuma urged him on after a split second of awkward silence.
“Professor, it’s been 125 years since our independence, I don’t think we should be dependent anymore”. He paused but continued when he saw received some nods. “What’s stopping us from inventing robots ourselves and programming them the way we want with our cultures and even our dialects sir?”
More nods and smiles.
“I reason with Prof. Jude and Prof. Anita, we can’t bring robots we don’t know their programming to our people. We shouldn’t, sir”. Doctor Dapo submitted and sat down, clumsily.
The room turned their gaze back to Professor Chukwuma, someone else interrupted again before he could respond.
“Can’t we just reprogram them instead?” Doctor Titi asked.
Everyone but Professor Chukwuma laughed.
“That’s ridiculous, Doctor Titi. Imagine having to reprogram thousands of robot when we could use that time to build thousands of robots ourselves”, Prof. Chukwuma said.
It seemed most agreed.
“Well, since robotics has been approved and now taught in federal universities in Nigeria, Doctor Tade here studied robotics at Obafemi Awolowo University and she’s one of our best, I think we should recruit undergraduates of this field from our universities and produce our own robots rather than agree to United States’ offer, ” Prof. Chukwuma said.
A consensus was reached and the meeting ended.
(Later that day at the cafeteria)
“You think this thing will work out?” Dr. David asked Dr. Tade.
“You want to know what I think?” she asked.
“I think the whole thing is shit. I don’t think robots are supposed to be everywhere doing everything. Everywhere will only be full of lazy idiots. Homemade robots, international robots, I think the idea of having five to one ratio of humans to robots is absolute shit!”
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but did you not spend years in school studying this same thing you call shit?”
Dr. Tade got up.
“If you don’t mind, I have a robot to attend to”, she said angrily and walked away. Dr. David sat there stupefied by his colleague’s utterance and reaction.
Professor Chukwuma and a young robotics engineer walked toward the car collector.
“Audi 156, blue”, he said. The collector opened and his car moved forward.
“These days you hardly see tyred petrol cars anymore, tyreless electric Android cars are becoming rampant. Have you even seen a tyred car before?” Prof Chukwuma asked the young engineer.
“My grandpa has one but he no longer drives it. He says it gives him good memories of his younger days”, he replied.
Professor Chukwuma chuckled.
“Well, I’m heading to Abuja MHQ”, he told the young engineer, “And this should take me 300 kilometers per hour unlike a tyred car”.
“Man, oh man! Who would have thought?” He added and laughed.
© Freaky writer
This piece was written by Aj David Monijesu. You can him on Twitter @freakywrither