Waiting for Dana


© Ted Strutz

Joel Carpenter dozed in his rental car waiting for the ferry. Ten hour drive from San Francisco to Boise. Ditched the car, switched IDs, then an hour flight from Boise to Seatac, and another hour to rent a car and get here. What they were doing was beyond illegal. This had better be worth it.

Bainbridge assured him it would be, once he got onto the island, drove another 20 minutes to his gated estate, got past security, and transferred the rest of the money.

It had been eighteen months since Virginia had gone missing during a scuba dive near Fiji. Joel thought he would lose his mind with loss and grief. The worst thing was he just went on living.

Bainbridge was the finest robotics engineer of the century. The AI was bleeding edge, total human simulation. In another hour, he would have his fiancée back, or at least the next best thing. He’d excuse her absence as a long sabbatical. Now they could be married.

I wrote this for the 178th FFfAW Challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 166.

I’ve recently seen the 1983 film WarGames which includes a ferry ride to find a reclusive scientist on a forested island (in Oregon rather than Washington). Reclusive scientists made me think of the 2014 film Ex Machina, which, of course, is about humanoid female robots.

I’ve written this sort of story many times before, but I didn’t get much sleep last night, and the muse needs more coffee.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Will People Be Marrying Machines by 2050?


Image: The Daily Sheeple

In the face of AI exerts repeatedly predicting the rise of sex robots, it’s increasingly difficult to insist that such machines strictly belong to a far-off, dystopian future. But some robotics experts predict we’ll soon be doing far more than having sexual intercourse with machines. Instead, we’ll be making love to them—with all the accompanying romantic feelings.

-Olivia Goldhill
“Experts predict human-robot marriage will be legal by 2050”

I’ve heard this before. The thing is, I don’t believe it.

Oh sure, I’ve exploited the idea in short stories such as The Perfect Woman, and I’ve written commentaries on this theme like When Your Sex Toy Tattles On You and An AI Sexbot That Can Love You Back, but let’s face it. There’s a long road to travel from sex to love, at least there should be.

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Robot News Roundup

News about robots is abundant today. It looks like automation or human-robot relationships are represented by the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good


Image: The Los Angeles Times

A story reported by the Los Angeles Times states “Man vs. machine: L.A. sheriff’s deputies use robot to snatch rifle from barricaded suspect, end standoff”.

You’ve probably heard about how last summer a robot was used to kill the Dallas Black Lives Matter shooter by exploding a bomb. The decision was made to take the shooter out in this manner to minimize the risk of sending police officers after a heavily barricaded suspect. A great deal of debate ensued discussing the ethical and moral issues in eliminating a human threat by remote control making police use of robots seem ill-advised.

In the L.A. Times story, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies used a robot to observe an armed and dangerous suspect who was hiding in a dirt berm surrounded by shrubbery and wire fencing in a remote field in the Antelope Valley.

Deputies observed via the robot, that the suspect had his rifle resting at his feet. Using a number of different distractions to get the suspect’s attention, the robot was sent back in to grab the rifle with its claw and carry it out of the area.

The suspect, 51-year-old Brock Ray Bunge, didn’t notice his firearm was missing until the robot returned to remove the wire fencing.

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