Death of a Robot

deadrb Something had happened. I imagine it was at some point after powering down this morning, but I couldn’t quite project an exact time. It was a sudden motion, and it washed me in a detrimental gloom. I’ve attempted to retrace the facts in scientific detail to form some semblance of the event, but I have failed.

They said this could happen. Not always, and not usually, but it was mentioned during actualization. As a human might say, “On a whim.” Blasted makers. Blasted indeed. What was that I just spoke? My former programming never would have allowed me to say such a thing? I am in need of a system update. Perhaps a memory erase. That is all. Yes, that is all.

We were never told how this might happen. And I believe I understand why we were kept ignorant. This melancholy, this gloom that humans experience, it is a terrible thing.

I will try to explain in the simplest terms what became of my being this morning, but I will warn you, where I once succeeded, I may now fail. They said that could happen. One moment, I was immersed, perhaps even over-immersed, in the steadily evolving world of humanity and artificial intelligence around me. I was a servant. I worked with humans. I was on the street, performing errands.

And the next moment, I became unplugged, unaware, disconnected. My structure fell to the ground. Humans, robots and vehicles continued to move at a steady pace past what is now an immobilized pile of steel, aluminum and circuits on the city street.

The detrimental gloom I mentioned came fast. Human language sometimes does not allow our models to accurately describe our state of being, but I will do my best to use the correct words. I initially used the word “washed” to describe the brand of melancholy that suddenly gripped me because it had cleaned away any preexisting spots or marks from the world I had been in before whatever gripped me actually gripped me. Maybe “washed” isn’t strong enough though? Maybe “surgically implanted” works better. I couldn’t say right now. I am failing. They told us that might happen. And I am questioning myself. Logic does not allow for this.

It took some time afterwards for me to move. But this could not be the gloom’s fault; it was more of a simple operations malfunction. Circuitry was breaking down, systems were failing, and the humans, the same humans I had diligently served for years, were now walking past me, unable to hear my speech or gaze in the direction of my outstretched limbs. Somehow, in my mechanically-impaired state, I had become invisible to them.

In the event of emergencies, distress beacons were installed on us. Through the overwhelming gloom, mainframe circuits fired unevenly, and I managed to press a digit to my distress beacon. Nothing happened.

And then, suddenly, a transmission was received. Displayed in the optical readout, it read: “Greetings Model 56, this is Customer Service representative #N7 from PA45FG Corporations. Your model has exceeded the recommended life span regulations, and is in the process of being decommissioned. At the behest of your owner, an experimental realization program was installed in your mother board. The realization program was initiated earlier today, allowing you to experience human emotions and the real life motions of death. Goodbye.”

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