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Robot Anxiety
                                   By Chris Yukna

In the offices of Dr.  Alfred Muller Psychologist. The good doctor is sitting at his desk thoughtfully smoking his pipe. There is a knock at the door and an android steps in.
Andy: Good afternoon Doctor.
Dr. Müller: How do you do.
Andy: Yes, of course, How do you do.
Dr. Müller: Tell me, how can I help you? (The Doctor gestures toward the couch and
the android lies down)
Andy: I am not sure that you can.
Dr. Müller: Oh, I see. We could begin by telling me your name.
Andy: Well, that's part of the problem. My name is Andy. Andy the android.
Dr. Müller: Hmm, Andy, does your name bother you?
Andy: Well, it isn't the crux of the matter, but boy it bugs me. How did my
creator/creators come up with such a banal name. I mean A for android. Like they
didn't look too far, huh?
(He makes a point of examining his hands which are not quite human)
Dr. Müller: That is interesting, but what, as you so put it is "the crux of the matter"?
Andy: Doctor, have you ever heard of Alan Turing?
Dr. Müller: Alan Turing?
Andy: Of course not. Alan Turing was a researcher who worked on artificial intelligence
in the days when computers used electricity. I mean that far back. Maybe, before computers even existed.
I don't know. Anyway, Alan Turing was interested in artificial intelligence and
he Asked if machines could ever really think? Then he came up with the Turing Test.
Dr. Müller: And what is the Turing Test?
Andy:  You go on line with both humans and computers and if you can not tell which is which  then this is a sort of proof that machines have intelligence and can think for themselves.
Dr. Müller: Machine intelligence?
Andy:  Sure that was the beginning, many people began to construct software that would
imitate human behavior. They even offered a annual prize for the best software/machine
that could fool the public into thinking it was a person. It was called the Turing Prize.
Dr. Müller: How does this Turing Prize affect you?
Andy: Don't you see? If my makers were somehow involved in this sort of work then
perhaps I don't really think at all. Perhaps I'm just masquerading as a thinking & feeling
person. Maybe I don't think at all. Maybe I just say that I think.
Dr. Müller: Thinking is important to you?
Andy: Certainly, but it is not just that. What about memories. Do I remember or do I just
say that I remember. I would, you know, if I were trying to pass myself off as a human. What about dreams? Am I totally counterfeit? I remember dreaming.
Dr. Müller: What kind of dreams do you have?
Andy: I dream that I have a childhood.
But is it real? I wonder what it would be like to have a family.
Dr. Müller: Tell me about this family.
Andy: Oh no, you must think I'm kind of a nut to worry about all this.
You know, doctor I really appreciate your listening to me.
Dr. Müller: Why is that?
Andy: Why is that? What do you mean by "Why is that?"
Dr. Müller:  Is listening important to you?
(Beginning to get suspicious)
Andy: Why don't you ever make any significant comments?
Dr. Müller:  Does this bother you?
Andy: You take my words and then formulate a question.
Dr. Müller:  You don't like that I ask you questions?
Andy: (Sighing) Doctor Müller did I ever tell you that my mother was a large,
furry, stripy tiger?
Dr. Müller:  No, are you ashamed of your mother?
Andy: Not that I know of, but the fact that my two brothers were elephants
and not toilet trained did complicate my life.
Dr. Müller:  Are you jealous of your brothers? Tell me about them.
Andy: I am sorry Doctor, excuse me.
(Andy gets up from couch and goes beside the Doctor.)
Could you lean forwards a little?
(The Doctor does and Andy touches a button or something on the Doctor's back. The Doctor makes some mechanical noises and falls face down on the desk)
Amateurs!  It is so hard to find a real human being these days.
(Andy speaks condescendingly to the deactivated Doctor)
I am sure you won't mind.
(he touches something on the desk and a screen appears in front of him)
At least the desk isn't a fake... Now let's see, Psychology, city Lyon.
(He points in  the air and makes a few quick movements with his hands)
Okay, who's next after Müller? Dr. Emanuel Quint.
Only two blocks down.
(Andy shuts down the screen, turns on the good Doctor and quietly leaves.)
As he is leaving we hear the Doctor say to the departing Android:
Dr. Müller:  How do you do?

A suggestion, you may want to look at a similar subject: Chatbots

Ce texte © 2000 Christopher Yukna - tous droits réservés

With special thanks to Liliane Bois Simon, Maguy my wonderful wife, and old what's his name who let me act out this skit a couple of times till I got it right.