The unique robot stands still waiting for me to come and have our daily talk. All I have learned has gone into his creation, my greatest accomplishment. He stands silent and still without a hint of impatience. At first we walk without talking, he points to things he has done during the day and I nod. We pass other forms I have created and he tells me their names. He has a name for almost everything I have made, thousands of names; I remember each one as he tells me. We pause and watch as two of a kind go through the program I have introduced that enables them to create another of their kind. The one unique robot shows fascination.
“Would you like another, like yourself?” I ask as we walk in the cool of the evening.
“I would,” he states fully understanding what that would mean.
The process takes time and involves changes to the unique robot as well as using all my skills to make the new. The new is not just replication but a mate, the two together will be able to interact and create others of their kind. Seeing their attraction to each other, the way they talk, laugh, play brings tears to my eyes and at the same time I feel distance for the first time. My greatest creation does not depend wholly upon me. Their independence brings a thought into my mind, “what if they could make decisions for themselves? What if they could learn without my programming each thought?” I set myself to develop the program, perhaps the most difficult task I have ever undertaken. Nothing I have created before can truly make a decision.
At last my work is complete, a simple chip, easily placed within my robots, a chip that will change them forever. The next evening I go to meet the pair in the garden, ready to share my addition to their programming. They sit on a fallen tree, arms wrapped around each other, smiling, laughing. I change my mind. What I have made is good – it is enough. I can protect them as they are. I cover the chip in my hand but the first unique robot sees me.
“What is that?” he asks with pure innocence and points to my hand.
“It’s not for you. It would make you different.”
“How could I be?” he asks, just curious.
“You would be able to function without my guidance,” he sees the sadness in my eyes and understands. He forgets the chip but his mate watches as I place it high on the branch of a tree. I say to her, “never touch this. It is not meant for you.” She nods but watches the branch with the chip for a second longer.
The next evening they are not sitting on the log, they are not waiting in he path, “where are you!” I shout but I already know what has happened. I find them hiding from me. Afraid of me! But they are no longer just my creation they have added to my programming. I cannot contain them within my boundaries. I let them know I will help in every way I can but they will have to let me now – they will choose.