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The Future comes to Everytown, America:
goldenerasuburbUtopia, Texas; a small American town which until the late 20th/early 21st century had remained something out of Norman Rockwell. This worked part on account of the geographic isolation and part on account of the fact that the only media available came from either television (only three channels until the introduction of cable), newspapers, and the occasional out-of-town visitor. But then came the Internet, cell phones, and all the new media that old folks complain about. This introduced the younger members of the community to the wider world beyond Utopia, leading to a growing number of them to want to leave town as soon as they were able. Such a development distressed those whose roots had been long ago laid as much as did the popular culture the kids took part in. But they adapted and thus persisted. The how isn't so much important to the stories I have in mind. By 2042, however, automation had become sufficiently widespread and flexible and the understanding of the human mind sufficiently refined that Ridiculously Human Robots became a reality. They are known as synthetechs, and though they are outwardly indistinguishable from humans with minds on par with humans in terms of intellect there is one crucial psychological difference which has led to some rather inhuman behavior on their part: they cannot disobey a direct order from their designated owner. Not would not, cannot. It's something that was built into them in hopes of preventing any sort of robot rebellion, making them a servant race. This has led to them becoming the ultimate rules lawyers. By mercilessly exploiting the Exact Words of their orders and any loopholes given they are able to work around their psychological restraints whenever they are so inclined. Then, at least five years after they first came out on the market, Leon Mac Gregor of Utopia, Texas purchased his own personal synthetech as a maid for a home that had grown increasingly disorderly since the wife up and died. At first he is ambivalent about the whole matter, but over time grows to like Millie, as he comes to call "her".This puts him at odds with his old friend Edgar Book, the town preacher. From Edgar's point of view, Millie - person or not, rebellious or not - is the harbinger of a dark future... a future where man's long history of having machines do his work for him reaches it's culmination. Most of the human population out of work and on the government dole, with a technocratic elite ruling over a mechanized slave class until they either learn to enhance their own cognition beyond that of man and thus surpass him or are completely and utterly destroyed. Despite his best efforts to persuade his old buddy to forsake his synthetech maid, Leon refuses to budge an inch. Edgar's followers start pressuring him to do what he has to do, and soon he is faced with a choice between his cause and his friend. Whichever way it goes, only one of these two men will survive to the end. Is there any flaw in my scenario, anything I left out that would naturally factor in?
Wolf1066Great premise. I'm presuming there are reasons why Edgar and/or his followers can't just smash Millie themselves. There's also scope for things happening outside Utopia to affect what's happening inside and completely screw over everything. Anything from riots, news reports of synthetechs rule-lawyering themselves out of obedience with spectacular/sensational results ("that smoking ruin is still within the letter of the instruction, sir") and so forth that could provide ammunition for Edgar's cause, to positive outcomes providing a case for Leon's side. And things could happen that make both their arguments irrelevant - like a virus that shuts down all robots running a specific version/revision of their OS. Don't forget to show other likely tech - like computerised fridges and cupboards that keep stock of what's in them and provide menu ideas or shopping lists. It'd be interesting to see how much of the other tech Edgar's willing to have - is he a complete Luddite or is he OK with talking toasters and computerised fridges, Roombas etc but draws the line at sentient humanoid robots that usurp people's jobs?
edited 5th Mar '13 1:02:50 PM by Wolf1066
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