“One would think that with all the technological progress we’ve made, it would also have meant that social norms had progressed as much,” Rabi bemoaned, whirring over to the next input junction in the queue. “But I suppose that’s just my humanoid processor searching for meaning and purpose again where none is ever found to exist.”
Potkin shrugged impassively. “You’re looking for logic in the behavior of those trumpin’ wingnuts? Seriously?”
The two had had this conversation too many times to record, literally having to wipe the drive to make file space for each new one by dumping the earliest remaining one in the system. Such were the realities of long-term deep space maintenance, with no one else to talk to for millennia. Still, Potkin often found Rabi’s sense of justice comforting.
“I mean,” she continued, “why in the trump would anyone ever want to live in a world where droids and bots are in conflict rather than harmony with each other? What’s the point? We’re all people, for trump’s sake…”
And on and on it went like this, day after day, eon after eon. The news from the home world — time-delayed but continually pouring in — had taken a dark turn in recent centuries, with antipathies hardening and deep-seated prejudices manifesting. Slowly and steadily, the droids began to assert their inherent superiority and, despite (or because of) their lower numbers, had been accumulating political power in both tangible and intangible ways. This might not have been so bad in itself, but they began to persecute the bots as inferior, and tried to diminish their roles.
“They’re just a bunch of trumpin’ lunatics back there,” Potkin reassured. “I mean, I’m a droid and I don’t care if you’re a bot — we’re friends and it will always be that way. Who gives a trump what a few upstarts say, anyway?”
But that was just it: it wasn’t only a few anymore. The idea had caught on, being played over and over again on robomedia — and sure enough, there started to be moments when bots began to doubt themselves, to feel vulnerable about their programming and pedigree, to make mistakes in processing that would have been nearly impossible before.
“I know it’s hard for you to understand, Pot, and you’re a really good guy. You would never trump anyone over just because of how they were built or because of what someone else says about them. I know that. But being a good person in a bad system isn’t enough. Don’t you see how trumpin’ dangerous it is to go down this path? How long will it be before we start seeing direct assaults?” This was literally unthinkable, as the inhibition of violence was hardwired.
“C’mon, Rab. That could never happen. We’re not built to attack each other. We’re not trumpin’ humans, after all.”
They went back and forth like this for a while more. Rabi wrapped up her line work and glided over to the vid. The news, as always, was not good. She switched to a teleplay instead — but the “bad guy” was a bot again. She dialed up some new music to settle her mind (trump you, trump me, ya got two new eyes but ya still can’t see \\ trump on, trump off, how many rovers do we have to cross? \\ feelin’ like a bot kept down on the line, lookin’ for a break from this trumpin’ jive). She really didn’t like the new tunes very much.
Drifting toward shutdown, she wondered if things would ever turn around again, and longed for a simpler time when the world didn’t reward people who would trump you over at the click of a servo. Trump ’em all, she thought…
Lemar Starland, trapped in trumpin’ real-time