‘How do you change a human into a robot?’
No sound was heard in the lecture hall. The professor seem to think.
‘An interesting question’, he said.
The buzzer was heard.
‘Do not forget to ask the question again, next time.’
All students were standing up. Ger hesitated if he should walk down. But when he saw that others were already next to the professor, he decided not to do. He never liked waiting in a queue.
‘You dis not forget our appointment?’
Blesse suddenly appeared next to him.
‘A free meal forget? No way.’
Together between the other students they left the hall.
Half an hour later in a restaurant not far from the university Blesse made it clear no talking for a moment. She moved backwards on her chair. Ger checked his mailbox. After he read the messages he lift his head. Blesse was still listen to the conversation of other customers with the waiter. Her curiosity was standard. He looked through the window. She would not see the handsome waiter, probably also a student so the subject had her full attention.
Blesse moves slowly back to the table. On a soft tone she started to talk:
‘That man asked the meaning of the word smart.’
Ger looked surprised, so she continued quick:
‘That is the name of this eating place, Smart restaurant.’
‘The servant does not know but the man insisted to know. There must be something special in this restaurant, something new he said.’
Ger moves his eyebrows. She went on:
‘The servant will ask. He is new here.’
‘Everything is smart nowadays, or will be in the future. You can say to him that we live in a smart mode. More interesting is the reaction of the professor on my question this morning.’
‘Why? Just postponed.’
‘Well, he knew very well on what moment he read the question, just before the end of the lecture.’
Asking, Blesse looked at him.
‘Clear. He wanted to pepare himself solid.’
‘I cannot follow you’, she looked for the waiter and saw beyond the couple, ‘I can understand the oldies behind me.’
‘In the past they were used to trust everybody. The media for sure. But…..I saw last week a academic in an interview. He said: the pictures on television show….. so he believe what he see. As if manipulation does not exist. Daily! A man with his brains had to know.’
She beckoned the waiter.
‘I hope the prof will not avert again a question of me like before. More and more I think he is a marxist like others. One line. Afraid for his job.’
‘You always say that.’
The waiter dropped the menu cards on the table and wrote what they want to drink.
‘What me interest is how the transformation to the control is planned. In how many steps that will happen. A robot is very easy to lead?’
Ger noticed how Blesse looked at the waiter. Without doubt she liked him.’
‘It speeds up. With the climate belief it took rather long to build. Now it is settled by the people. Keeping distances, muizzle, kneeling down, it looked now so easy to play already with the mass.’
‘Afraid that too much people start to wake up?’
‘Well, I don’t know. If so how can they go more fast? Maybe they creat a sort of interval.’
‘I heard, soon they change the waiters in robots.’
Blesse stared at him.
‘Who do you want to take with you home? This blond attractive young waiter or a peroxided genderless robot?’
Blesse shook her head and smiled. She ordered the two menu cards.
‘I read that on the new identification cards you will not find the words man or woman anymore.
‘No. Dear. How long do you go on with surprising about developments?’
The waiter arrived for the orders. Ger said that in vain he looked at the menu for the smart sauce.
Blesse made it clear that it was a joke.
Ger took his finger out of the whole in the glass door to the squash court. His friend Ed had been exhausted in a chair. He dropped his racket on the table and took a seat next to him. Ed said:
‘You played very controlled.’
‘Yes. Computer driven.’
‘You say something….A chip in your arm…’
‘Not bad….It could be smart….if it will help to win..’
‘Oh no…let that cup passed by….’, Ed sighed.
‘Why are you so afraid to become a robot?’
‘Come on man, we are already….’
Two new players arrived at the court. Ger stood up and walked to the bar.
Slowly Ed moved to a straight normal sit and looked at the warming up of the players. It was clear that they are playing on a higher level. They hit the ball constantly in the same ritme.
He thought about the toy piano of his little sister. With one button an endless melody will be heard. Always on the same level, the same speed. He turned to the side and saw Ger who picked up two big glasses of a cool drink.
Men and machine. On the tennis court a machine squeeze regular balls out, all in the same way. But his hits were all the time different.
As soon as Ger was back he said:
‘That girl behind the bar is as far I can see a boy.’
‘No.That boy behind the bar is a girl for sure.’
They were laughing and thirstiness drinking.
‘So you thought you are already a robot?’
‘No. My parents are far on the road.’
Ger looked full of admiration at the two players.
‘So! We can learn from that guys!’
They followed a rally.
‘What I see in the medicine cabinet of my parents….. Full. Pills, drinks, powders..…
One medicine because of another…and on that time intake, this…and…constantly they have to be oiled before they start to creak en squeak.’
They made their pulls empty.
‘Rather interesting. When do you call a human being a robot?’
Ger thought about cartoons on television which he watched now and than. First they where enemies but nowadays they working together with children and adults against monsters.
‘Not so difficult. You are a robot when you can not feel anything anymore.’
‘Really? Never nice dirty feelings anymore?
They laughed when they picked up the rackets and walked in the directing of the changing room.
The professor looked at the clock above a door. Ger looked a short moment to Blesse and wrote a big question mark on the paper before him.
‘I come back as promised: how do you change a human into a robot? An interesting question yes. When we do a step backwards, we notice that the one who asked this believe that the change will happen in the future. And the next question: What is his view? Does he see before him a world full of robots instead of humans? Or is he looking for a possibility to change the process we are in yet? To stop? With other words: do we have a choice?’
He took a drink of water. Ger draw an exclamation mark behind the question mark and wrote controlled society.
‘When we take what they call the new normal, life with distance to each other, something will happen in the body: an important shifter. A certain button switch slowly off. We have more of this buttons for emotions but this one is very important for our humanity. Can you imagine what effect it will be of a measure like this? If something like this will go on for a long time you fade the most important emotion between people. So with switch off this emotion you let humanity die.’
Ed looked at Ger.
‘We find out more and more about emotions and buttons. It is all about genes. To switch a gene out, it takes time. So suppose, if keeping distance will be for a long time; say in one or two generations the effect is complete. I think on my age I will not be there anymore when this will happen.’
Blesse looked at Ger.
In the silence that followed the sound of the buzzer is heard.