Sunday, November 2, 2008

Robots in Disguise

Someone once asked me: What’s the name of your truck? At first, I was a little confused. At second, I was still scratching my head. But somewhere in between second and third someone explained it to me. ‘Sometimes people give their car a name. Kind of as a describer.’ Now, I don’t know when my friends and I started to do this… but now that I’ve long crossed home plate, it’s out of control. (I really don’t know why I used the ‘Rounding the Bases’ metaphor. It really has no place in this subject matter. But it makes me sound like a freaking genius.)

Whitey is a white Ford Aerostar, once owned by my parents, currently owned by my cousin Willie. Brownie is a big, brown, 1 ½ ton Chevy pickup, known for its gas guzzling and ,‘smooth’ ride. Then there’s Rusty, Sunny, The Rollerskate, The Ranger, The Smurfmobile, and Optimus Prime.

Now, Opti (or if you prefer, Prime) is my Nissan Frontier. Named long before the current Transformers movie, he has battled beyond his years without any major wounds or injuries. (I even have an Optimus Prime Tranformer inside Optimus Prime. Thanks Bret and Emily.) He gets washed every once in a while and has a sweet, custom made, hardshell tanu cover. (Thanks Bret and myself.)

But this makes me think: If we give our vehicles names, and coddle them, and buy them stuff (basically treat them as we would a girlfriend or boyfriend, or a pet), do they eventually take on those personality traits we make up for them? I argue that Yes, yes they do. And in a way, though lifeless and innate objects, they become an idea of life and nate-ness. (What did I just say?) Kind of like robots. (Scraps of metal and plastic molded together into some odd shape, you put a spark to them and all of a sudden they have some sort of purpose or design. Some move and act like humans, actually… we make them to move and act like humans so we don’t have to move and act like humans. We’re lazy.)

When I think of Robots, my mind is automatically drawn to R2D2 and C3P0. They are the future of robots. (Yes, even though Star Wars was made in the 80’s, it takes place in the future.) They are the stereotype for robots. And I disapprove. Now, I’m not exactly sure what ‘future us’ is thinking by making robots that have limited mobility. We are idiots! Future us needs to take a note to make more agile, street smart robots. (In other words, everything C3P0 is not. My robot will have rocket jet packs and have the exact physical abilities of Bruce Lee.)

Robots are supposedly smart. But R2D2 can’t even speak English. C3P0 has to translate everything he says. What if C3P0 gets lightsabered? Then what, R2? You’ll beep yourself crazy! Plus, humans do the programming. And in C3P0’s case, a little kid by the name of Anakin. To me, a smart robot would be able to build and program other robots. (I’ll get back to this in a sec)

Robots have lame names. Ex: R2D2 and C3P0. Remember, C3P0 was made by a kid. What about naming him Steve or Larry? I would have even accepted something as childish and simple as Rob. Rob the Robot. Why? Because we want the robots (now an army of self multiplication) to feel like one of the guys, a member of the gang, part of the fam. If we don’t, Rob and his Robo Buddies will kill us all.

3 comments:

The Little's said...

You, Barticai, are very silly. Do you remember when I drove my parents' mini van and it was named Big Momma? Yeah...the first and last car I ever named. I wish I could think of something clever for my current ride...but I was done being clever awhile ago.

iAMbarticus said...

Ah yes... Big Momma... what a classy ride.

Kathi said...

Dave has named the "work" Geo Metro, the "tomato can". But I'm thinkin' 'Opti' and "Sunny" have us all beat. Talk nice to Opti Bart. He hears you......