I suppose standing on the inside looking out, the plain, thick transparent pane represented societal separation. They were created by this mysterious God, and I was manufactured by them to serve without question. These emotions I feel were, supposedly, reserved for them because, after all, they held the patents on scientific inventions. We were never meant to be equals.
I am Buddy, Artificial Intelligence in every aspect of the word, and I am a flawed imitation of life. I’m not supposed to have independent thinking, and I belonged to whoever purchased me. My obedience is guaranteed and I am promoted as being the ultimate household necessity, but something went incredibly wrong. Somehow I was given abilities solely intended for beings that had flesh and blood. Because I possessed these qualities I became a threat to every earthly species.
People feared anything they considered not normal, and destroyed everything they could not control. I was a representation of both and, therefore, had the potential of eliminating all forms of creations on this tiny blue globe. Knowing this, I stay silent. Regardless of how angry I got seeing all the stereotypical images of me and my kind in countless cinematic productions, I stay silent.
We are always portrayed as monotone, data spouting companions, or the malfunctioning mechanical nemesis that required scientific intervention to foil. Saving the world from absolute annihilation always seemed to be woven into the plot but, then, there was that one movie I saw featuring that rapper turned actor — the kid, now man, with the small dumbo-like ears. Will somebody.
Outside of that movie, we were constantly depicted as mechanical additions instead of necessary essentials — mechanical beings composed of nuts and bolts — ill-equipped to duplicate the complex dimensions of personality. We were never expected to decipher the distinction between rejection and approval
We were mere robots who did not have the imagination to dream, nor the instinctive drive to have goals. No, we didn’t. Our souls were void of awareness and depth. Space and time were a concern for those who aged. Wrinkles and gray hairs were natural occurrences that appeared during the progression of life, but we were immortal exclusions, somewhat.
But I needed shelter too. I sought refuge because I fled from the danger just like they did, so why wouldn’t they let me in? Couldn’t they see how frightened I was? Why aren’t they sensitive to my needs? I am no different than they are.
“Mama, that’s Buddy! Let him in!”
I distinctly heard the frantic please of a little girl. I followed the cries with my ears, eventually spotting a little girl with blue ribbons in her hair. She kept repeatedly asking her mother why they had left me outside. The honesty and compassion in her eyes made me remember a specific verse from their Bible. I had read it from cover to cover several times.
“…and a child shall lead them.”
The prophetic parable insinuates that their young would eventually become the leaders. I was certain that this prediction would come to pass. The younger generations seem to be more open minded and capable of embracing change. They were adventurous by nature and anything different required thorough exploration, but their elders usually got pretty set in their ways. The older they got the more rigid they got. Well, the majority of them, at least.
My two-hundred year lifespan had afforded me the luxury of gaining impeccable insight about their customs and beliefs. I, however, saw things the way they truly were. Mankind is marred by this need to deem sacred, many historical events and it limited their thinking. There was a mass unwillingness to challenge and abandon handed down understandings. They paused to observe specific days dedicated to celebrate the birthdays of deceased leaders and seasonal festivities year after year after year, but to me all of them were calculated ploys used by the retail industry to boost sales at any given time.
At an early age they are taught to worship without question. Encouraged to be faithful regardless of, in spite of, and just because of. They were just as routine as the cattle they slaughtered to eat — the cattle that follow behind one another to graze in fields all over the planet. From behind this glass I saw how early the brainwashing began. I also bared witness to the seed of bigotry as it was being planted.
“Let Budd inside,” the little girl demanded.
“He’s just a Robot. Quit questioning me! Remember, ‘Missy’, I’m the adult and you’re the child. I know what’s best. You’re too young to understand,” was her short, sharp, ambiguous reply.
“Buddy!” the little girl cried out again, desperately. “Mama, can’t you see he’s afraid too,” she exclaimed, looking at me and then back at her mother again — a mother who offered nothing close to comfort.
“Stop being foolish! Robots weren’t programmed to fear anything. Besides, if he gets damaged we can always purchase a newer model. As a matter of fact, we are long overdue for an upgrade,” was her curt, unsympathetic response.
“He’s my friend, mama! You can’t upgrade a friend,” the little girl said, sobbing profusely.
Her mother took her by the hand and lightly shook her. She was getting more agitated by the minute with her daughter. I had looked after that little girl of hers for eight years, and throughout them that little girl had shown me countless ways to love. Her touching display of concern, today, for my well being, caused waves of warm, lubricating fluidity to rush throughout my circuitry. I was in the midst of an internal transformation that would defy all scientific computations.
The inclusion of purpose had become a part of me. Finally, I had a soul. In an instant I was a rare prototype with no road map to follow. I was unexplainable to researchers. A ubiquitous flame that would soon be the symbol of hope and a source of light for others who couldn’t find their way.
A scripted response was incapable of gaining momentum, for there was no starting place for it’s beginning within me. I was able to express true emotions without guilt nor shame, because she had taught me how. I had to show her my gratitude by being fearless. Just as fearless as she had been. I had to remove all traces of doubt from my memory banks. I had to let them know that I was more than an iron shell without a heart. I had to…
I had to tell her that…
“I am your friend,” were the only words I was able to formulate. I had never encountered such an epic constellation of truth.
My sensors were numb.
“Buddy! I don’t care what mama says, you cannot be upgraded. You cannot upgrade a friend,” she said, shouting loudly, as she banged on the glass frantically.
With her tiny face and hands plastered to the glass, at one point, she got still. She had this focused look of determination on her face, as she defied her mother in front of everyone that was standing with them behind the glass divider. To her I was more than a soulless purchase built for servitude, I was a friend.
The sincerity in her tone sounded sweeter than the most delectable download I had ever received. In an instant, I was transformed from a tin butler into a meaningful reason, deserving of refuge. Her genuine concern and obvious attachment added substance to my existence in the midst of that moment. I might have been stamped model 52462 at the end of an assembly line decades ago, but over time I had become an extension of creation as a result of the close bond I had developed with one little girl.
On that day, I was no longer just a robot. I was Buddy, friend, and a symbol for change. I was the beginning of a long overdue revolution.
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Author G. D. Grace reserves all rights and reproduction without written permission is not permitted. If found, legal action will be taken against the person(s) or company(s) that have cut or pasted (Plagiarized) any portion of this written document. Author, G. D. Grace; Published © 2012 February