Robots Make Babies

Rachel Adams


Our robots are life-givers. We used to have this advantage over them. Now we have nothing.

They started with little monsters made of clay. Sure, we were freaked out, but they were tiny, and it reminded us of claymation. They lurched so charmingly across our palms. Okay, we thought, we'll get them to teach us how to do it.

But our robots were on to organic matter by then and couldn't be bothered. The monsters were melted down, and the clay was returned to the robo-potters for reuse. Our robots are good about that kind of thing. The tiny faces, mouths anguished o's, seem to float up at us from the swirls of our bowls and cups.

We made the hard decision. We'd suck it up and do our own work again. Shut-down time. But oops! We hadn't built in a way to turn them all off at once. Our most advanced robo-psychologists and -sociologists worked furiously on models predicting how our robots might react if we tried to launch a staggered shutdown.

In the meantime, our robots did it. They made us. In miniature, but in perfect miniature. Babies you could put in a Mardi Gras King Cake, babies you could love through a magnifying glass.

Our scientists came back. We're not sure what would happen, they said, but we don't recommend it.

So far, the programming has held up pretty well. Our robots still haven't thought to reproduce themselves, peanuts next to what they've done already. They haven't recognized their superiority, designed, as they are, to love us to the point of fear, to the point of worship.

Our robots are gentle with the babies, but they don't love the babies. The tiny babies are experimental. They are not programmed to love the babies. Now the babies are growing into tiny people the robots do not love.

Our robots are working really hard on getting their model people exactly right. They keep making new batches of babies. Their alarm and distaste grow as they watch them mature. Our robots think it's their fault. Anxiously, we encourage this. We tell them, don't feel bad. We tell them, nobody's perfect.