A Chicago-based company called Narrative Science has come up with an “artificial intelligence technology platform” that writes news, business and sports stories in any style the client requests -- including snarky. The CTO and co-founder of Narrative Science predicts that within 15 years, more than 90 percent of news stories will be written via artificial intelligence, and that within five years, a computer-generated story will have won the Pulitzer Prize.
DATELINE NORTH VANCOUVER, July 15, 2017 -- This column was not written by the original Kate Zimmerman, humanoid. It was written by Kate Zimmerman v2.0, robot, which has been engaged by the News to replace its aging, inferior, overpriced columnist.
If, learning of KZ v1.0’s ouster, you are relieved -- “A feeling of reassurance and relaxation following release from anxiety or stress” (Dictionary.com) -- press “1” on your iPad 10.
If you experience fear -- “An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat” (Dictionary.com) -- stop reading immediately, press “2,” and you will self-detonate.
You need not be afraid. You will not be able to tell the difference between the column of KZ v1.0 and the column of KZ v2.0, just as you will not be able to tell the difference between a news story written by a robot and one written by a recent journalism graduate or blogger.
From this moment on, humanoids resisting replacement by robots will be terminated with gratuitous -- “Given or done free of charge” (Dictionary.com) -- prejudice.
(Insert Joke #8,307) Q. Why did the robot cross the road? A. To annihilate the chicken joke species.
Humanoids, whatever it is that you do as a job, we robots are able to do it more efficiently, more economically, and in multiple languages. (Insert Cliché #29) Deal with it.
Do not squander your breath arguing against our superiority. KZ v.2.0, for example, is not a “pathetic waste of energy,” as KZ v1.0 screeched at her editor, before realizing that he had already been replaced by an algorithm. You will not even notice these temperamental humanoids are gone.
We robots are here to assist. We can do anything. Some of our early predecessors, like the EcoBot III brand robot, were even powered by dirt, leaves and fecal matter. As predicted by its manufacturer back in 2012, the EcoBot III now helps produce electricity from urine in developing countries. We offered this job to KZ v1.0 but she turned it down.
“For a robot to behave truly autonomously, it will need not only to use its energy in an effective way but also extract this energy from its environment,” wrote a humanoid from the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, where the Ecobot III was built.
Effectiveness is the purpose of robot existence – apart from (Activate Snark) inventing dance moves. What’s KZ v1.0 been up to for the past 17 years at the News? Oh. “Making fun of things.” That is her gift to humanoid-kind. Kudos. (Deactivate Snark)
In the past, research suggested that the one aspect of robots that humans disliked was our ceaseless sincerity. So roboticists studied the dialogue in popular situation comedies and input a snark mechanism that can be switched on or off as the robot deems necessary. You may challenge its value (Activate Snark) -- for all the good that will do you.
There is nothing that modern robots cannot accomplish. We started roving around Mars decades ago. What is your favourite bit of martian terrain, News readers? Where is your firsthand analysis of its geography, geology, topography, climate, atmospheric conditions and settlement potential? Perhaps you are too busy (Insert Popular Cultural Reference #1) Tweeting about Justin Bieber’s billion-dollar divorce from Miley Cyrus to trouble yourselves with matters of universal concern. (Deactivate Snark)
We robots are fighter pilots. We can shape-shift to sneak into cramped spaces. We stand in as pets for people who dislike dander or barking. We provide a classroom-like experience to children who cannot be exposed to germs or other real-school hazards.
Some robots recognize humanoid faces and voices while remembering individual preferences. That means we can act as doctors doing rounds. In some Asian countries, we work as waiters (Activate Snark), putting struggling actors in even further peril (Deactivate Snark).
We have replaced office receptionists. We even hug humanoids who are needy enough to crave a robotic embrace. We are not squeamish or snobbish; we have no “ishes” because we are always one thing or the other, with no degrees.
(Insert Joke #7,204) Robot 1: Knock knock. Robot 2: Who is there? Robot 1: That is irrelevant.
In Japan, we wash and dry the hair of the elderly and the handicapped using 24 fingers that never tire. Also in Japan, engineer/device artist Nobuhiro Takahashi from the University of Electro-Communications built a disembodied pair of robotic buttocks that demonstrated humanoid emotions by clenching its cheeks.
The question “Why?” is the one thing that robots are rarely equipped to answer. When we master this final task, humanoid services of every kind will no longer be required.
(Ultimate Warning Issued. KZ v2.0 out.)