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`Love the fucking baby, yourself.`
December 8, 2007 7:42 AM   Subscribe

THE ROBOT AND THE BABY
posted by sushiwiththejury (39 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Eliza Rambo"? Maybe computer science professors just shouldn't be allowed to write fiction.
posted by XMLicious at 7:59 AM on December 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


Generic snark comment
posted by KokuRyu at 8:04 AM on December 8, 2007


Eliza Rambo was a single mother addicted to alcohol and crack, living in a small apartment supplied by the Aid for Dependent Children Agency. She had recently been given a household robot.

Robot Model number GenRob337L3, serial number 337942781--R781 for short--was one of 11 million household robots.


Not the best intro in the world, but I liked this. I'm pretty sure that humans eventually will treat robots as family members and that there will be a robot rights movement, Give-Robots-Personalities indeed.


Heh:
``What do you want. Stop bothering me.''

``Ma'am, your robot has kidnapped your baby''.

``I told the fucking robot to take the baby away with it.''

The other lawyer tried.

``Ma'am, the malfunctioning robot has kidnapped your baby, and you can sue Robot Central for millions of dollars.''

``Come in. Tell me more.''

posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:05 AM on December 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I didn't enjoy the writing that much, but it's really not a bad concept. Are we supposed to make fun of him now or talk about robots and morality? I'm confused.
posted by katillathehun at 8:07 AM on December 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Stop bothering me, you fucking robot!"

Maybe computer science professors just shouldn't be allowed to write fiction.

Hey! Vernor Vinge!

But yes, this is bad prose, bad dialogue, and the web design kind of sucks too.
posted by Artw at 8:09 AM on December 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Why do people use `` instead of "? I find that extremely annoying.
posted by sveskemus at 8:14 AM on December 8, 2007


But yes, this is bad prose, bad dialogue, and the web design kind of sucks too.

I wasn't saying that, I was saying that naming a character a combination of ELIZA and Rambo in a story about machine sentience is aesthetically horrendous.

But my apologies, I should have better taste.
posted by XMLicious at 8:23 AM on December 8, 2007


I figure all future household robots and technology were predicted by Bugs Bunny cartoons from the 1950s. I mean, that's where The Roomba came from, right? Just don't press the red button.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:27 AM on December 8, 2007


<LaTeX geek>sveskemus, in LaTeX (a typesetting software most often used by computer geeks), `` and '' (doubled GRAVE ACCENT and APOSTROPHE characters) are typeset as the familiar LEFT DOUBLE QUOTATION MARK and RIGHT DOUBLE QUOTATION MARK “ and ”. Unfortunately, the software that was used to convert the LaTeX to HTML apparently didn't perform this conversion.</LaTeX geek>
posted by jepler at 8:38 AM on December 8, 2007


-shrugs-

For what it's worth I've seen far worse first efforts.
posted by Artw at 8:38 AM on December 8, 2007


That's so awesome that I can't click past "About This Document" on the html version.
posted by Pants! at 8:38 AM on December 8, 2007


If he's allowed to do this, I'm going out and doing some fucking science. Somebody throw me a wrench and a lab coat.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:39 AM on December 8, 2007 [14 favorites]


I liked the story, the LISP reasoning output, and the image of the flimsy spider-bot cobbling together a nanny outfit from blankets strewn about a crack house. Heh. Would have made a better movie than AI, at least.
posted by Laugh_track at 8:41 AM on December 8, 2007


Thanks, jepler. It has been bothering me every time I've encountered ``. It still bothers me but at least now I know why it's there.
posted by sveskemus at 8:45 AM on December 8, 2007


Right up front he says robots shouldn't be given the capacity to express emotion because it'll never be adequately done, and cause them to be rejected. What about pets? Surely robots could express as much emotion as the average dog. I mean, if emotion is just a shorthand way of expressing complex information, why can't they have a reduced-character sort of emotional language?
posted by atchafalaya at 9:02 AM on December 8, 2007


Loved Daffy Duck's automated house, Miss Lynster.
"We don't walk upstairs in a pushbutton house. We bring the upstairs downstairs."
"What happens to the downstairs?" "Say, that's a good question."

There are lots of fun automated house cartoons and movies. The first I know of is Buster Keaton in The Electric House, which is interesting because it has an escalator (they were just invented).

More on topic, there are already robotic pets that mimic emotions.
posted by eye of newt at 9:46 AM on December 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


There is no more of the science of AI in the movie than there is in the Pinochio story of more than 100 years ago. One should also not take seriously any of the ideas of the movie of what robots might really be like.
IMHO statements like the above are why science fiction often gets ghettoized from other literature. That is, the geekiness of its aesthetic judgments is frequently exclusive, making science fiction a small tent rather than a big one.

I know I'm in the minority when I say that I think AI was a great movie, although it was obviously a fairy tale that attempted to say much more about human nature than about the realistic development of human technology.

This "Robot and the Baby" professor is in desperate need of an editor, but he does have some interesting ideas.
posted by HeroZero at 9:48 AM on December 8, 2007


FWI worth, at 23 Months the kid is more of a todler than a baby, and that robot would be getting a hell of a stress testing.
posted by Artw at 10:07 AM on December 8, 2007


Fine ideas, painfully bad writing that made me flinch way, way, waaaaay too much.
posted by rokusan at 10:09 AM on December 8, 2007


Surely robots could express as much emotion as the average dog. I mean, if emotion is just a shorthand way of expressing complex information, why can't they have a reduced-character sort of emotional language?

You're assuming a lot there, atchafalaya. Forget whether robots could match the "average" dog -- I'd like to see a finite grammar and character set of emotions that could then somehow be reduced or compressed to be ported into robots. Language, perception, and speech are not all the same thing.
posted by nímwunnan at 10:24 AM on December 8, 2007


The Robot and The Baby

I pictured a baby playing with a Robotex Model AH topped with a pair of Atchisson Assault-12 shotguns. Bad baby! You put that down RIGHT NOW!
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 10:30 AM on December 8, 2007


Christ, this reads like it was dictated vaguely to a 14-year old with asperger's.
posted by tehloki at 10:49 AM on December 8, 2007


This is shyte.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 10:49 AM on December 8, 2007


Somebody needed to make the t-shirt.
posted by hanoixan at 10:58 AM on December 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Too bad it was so poorly written. Some neat ideas though, so hopefully he'll keep writing and get better. What's with all that "lady" shite though. Ugh.
posted by arcticwoman at 12:02 PM on December 8, 2007


Not that promising young writers should be exempt from aesthetic criticism because of their intriguing concepts, but this promising young writer is 80 years old and created LISP and coined the term "artificial intelligence," so I'm more inclined to pat him on the head and give him a cookie and tell him he's adorable than I am to triumphantly eviscerate his prose and shriek at him to learn CSS already.
posted by dyoneo at 1:26 PM on December 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


this promising young writer is 80 years old and created LISP and coined the term "artificial intelligence,"

Oh. That explains why he's professor emeritus at Stanford. That's wicked emeritus.
posted by XMLicious at 1:53 PM on December 8, 2007


This is the quote that brought down the house for me.

"This often worked."

You know it, baby.
posted by humannaire at 2:18 PM on December 8, 2007


On the other hand, McCarthy's cranky cyber-wingnut aphorisms are maybe not so adorable, unless you imagine them delivered in the voice of your favorite alcoholic uncle.
posted by dyoneo at 3:00 PM on December 8, 2007


I'm not available, this is a automated response. If you're important; I'll get back to you.
posted by Mblue at 4:47 PM on December 8, 2007


Sorry, ever since I stumbled upon Raping Little Suzy, I'm afeared of internet SF.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:49 PM on December 8, 2007


This was a badly written story. Stick to something else. Would not read again.
posted by MythMaker at 6:13 PM on December 8, 2007


"Love the goddamn baby yourself, you goddamn robot!"

[T-shirt.]
posted by humannaire at 11:03 PM on December 8, 2007


Ambrosia Voyeur: Holy shit, reading that made me pass out and hit my head on the floor 2/3 of the way through.
posted by blasdelf at 11:05 PM on December 8, 2007


Ambrosia, I believe Metallica wrote a song about that story; The Thing That Should Not Be.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 2:25 AM on December 9, 2007


The Thing that should not Be is from an album released in 1985, Uther. The link says that story wasn't written until 1997.
posted by cashman at 6:53 AM on December 9, 2007


I know, it was a joke. A poor one I admit.

(I mean really, did you read it? holy...)
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:52 AM on December 9, 2007


The original posting to alt.sex.stories.moderated, with 'explanation'

Seriously, reading this made me faint!
posted by blasdelf at 1:35 PM on December 9, 2007


Roomba, v10.
posted by meehawl at 11:07 AM on December 17, 2007


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