In The Future, We Could Be Pets.

Artificial intelligence isn’t just taking our jobs away. One day, robots could be trotting us around on leashes.

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Courtesy of Dreamstime

I visualize a time when we will be to robots what dogs are to humans, and I’m rooting for the machines,” Claude Shannon

Stephen Hawking once said that our biological evolution can’t compete with artificial intelligence. Robots will re-design themselves in a matter of days, while we’ll wait the usual 1,000 years. If that happens, robots could soon control every level of government and all the Taco Bells.

Our future could consist of us sitting around Taco Bells 12 hours a day, watching AI sitcoms on our phones. These sitcoms will resemble The Big Bang Theory, except Sheldon will be dating a robot named Minnie.

Much of what we eat will be bland because they’ll be developed by AI chefs, better known as “lousy cooks.” They have no sense of smell or taste, so fast food will pretty much taste the way it does now.

There’s also a chance we’ll assume the role of pets. Not that we’ll be pets in the traditional sense. We won’t have robots scratching us behind the ears. That requires compassion and love. It’s quite possible we’ll have to scratch each other behind the ears, so, technically, we’ll be pets of pets.

When someone says, “You’ll soon be free to engage in creative tasks,” that scares the bejesus out of us. We don’t invent things. We buy things.

Robots are already assuming more and more of our mundane tasks. That actually bugs us more than becoming their pets. They’re taking jobs we still like doing, which includes sticking bumpers on new cars and shoving Twinkies into big boxes Costco sells as the Economy Pacs.

If you think about it, most of us go to work with every expectation we’ll be doing the same mundane and repetitious tasks. When someone says, “You’ll soon be free to engage in creative tasks,” it scares the bejesus out of us. We don’t invent things. We buy things. What exactly do they mean by “creative tasks”? What could possibly be more creative than clipping coupons?

“Robots will never create a Mona Lisa,” opponents of artificial intelligence say. How is that supposed to make us feel better? Nobody’s created a Mona Lisa since Leonardo de Vinci. That was over five hundred years ago. Why would we want to create a Mona Lisa, anyway? It’s just a woman smiling. We can get that from any greeter at Walmart.

Painting is a lonely art, anyway. We’re a congenial lot. We like big crowds. Show us fifty people waiting at a take-out window and we’re there. Advertise a Boxing Day sale and we’ll camp out on the sidewalk.

Robots will never duke it out in a Walmart or Taco Bell, or appear in a YouTube video wearing flip flops in the middle of winter.

One man waited all night in front of a Best Buy store for the new iPhone. It had exactly six more features than the iPhone he already owned.

Two women got in a major brawl at a Walmart over a case of bottled water. A staff member tried to intercede and nearly had his clothes ripped off.

Robots will never duke it out in a Walmart or Taco Bell, or appear in a YouTube video wearing flip flops in the middle of winter. These are human traits developed over many years of evolution. They may not be enviable traits, but we know when that last case of bottled water is a steal.

Will all this be for naught if robots take over everything?

Scientists are already moving robots from ANI (artificial narrow intelligence) to ASI (artificial super intelligence). Once that happens, robots will be making decisions on their own, something humans have typically left to governments and Oprah.

We can deduce, we can spell (some of us, anyway), we can load three 70-inch flatscreens onto a wobbly shopping cart.

Fortunately, some experimental physicists believe we’re a long way from being pets. Artificial intelligence is still flawed. For instance, robots have a real problem with string. Why can it be pulled and not pushed? If the day ever comes when we’re pets, we can drive robots crazy with leashes.

Scientists admit artificial intelligence is actually terrible at anything analytical outside of numbers. Remember when our math teachers called us stupid for not understanding calculus? AIs can do calculus in their sleep. What they can’t do is figure out why we’re not dogs. This confuses dogs, too.

Artificial intelligence may never figure out why we’re not like them—or dogs. We’re a bit of a mystery. We can deduce, we can spell (some of us, anyway), we can load three 70-inch flatscreens onto a wobbly shopping cart.

Robots may decide to keep us around for entertainment, perhaps making us show humans.

The last example really messes with a robot’s head, and as long as robots are confused, we’re pretty safe. Not that we should relax and put the leashes away. Robots may decide to keep us around for entertainment, perhaps making us show humans.

We’ll be coiffed and strut around, and we’ll get treats because we jumped over a small fence, and we ignored that Pomeranian guy making an ass of himself.

It won’t be so bad. Dog shows draw crowds, and we like crowds. We might even win a ribbon. Not that robots will necessarily love us for it, but we’ll still get treats at PetSmart on the way home.

Robert Cormack is a novelist, humorist and blogger. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major bookstores (now in paperback). Check out Yucca Publishing or Skyhorse Press for more details.

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I did a poor imitation of Don Draper for 40 years before writing my first novel. I'm currently in the final stages of a children's book. Lucky me.

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