It was a Wednesday. The robot stood on an ordinary street outside the downtown center of a small midwestern city.
It was having a midlife crisis.
Robots were not supposed to have midlife crises; they were supposed to save the world – or bring destruction to the world – whichever their A.I. was programmed for.
But this robot, named F3780 by its designer, was having a full-on, textbook-case midlife crisis.
What was its life all about? Why had it wasted all those years? How could it recapture its youth?
The joints, once pristinely well-oiled, were becoming creaky and out of alignment. The eyes, once acutely attuned to detect the smallest movement at a distance of a hundred miles – from the air – had lost their precision. Microsonic signals that dictated lightning-fast reflexes, enabling near-unconscious battle moves, were being drowned out by spurious signals from nearby cell phone towers.
Perhaps it was in need of an update. But F3780 only knew that its function was no longer felt by the pseudo-brain A.I. that its designer had installed.
It had had its glory moments, that was true. The age of Transformers. The age of X-Men. The age of the Avengers.
An age of robots glorified in breathtaking action movies.
When had it all passed him by? When had he lost the ferocity and the ambition to save or to destroy the manifestations of human society’s civilizations?
Perhaps he needed rehab. Perhaps he needed a comeback.
Celebrities did it. He would do it as well.
Robot F3780 hitchhiked a ride on a semi-truck carrying a load of soybeans to the West Coast. San Francisco was his aim. He’d heard of Silicon Valley, the capital of high-tech enterprises. Surely they would have a need for a vintage A.I. like his. As he sat atop the cab of the semi, the rushing wind abrading his outer shell-armor, he dreamed of the space-age lab in which his robot life would be reborn. Surely there was such a place.
About this post: Aging can be difficult even for the most accomplished of all of us.