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Politically correct robots: Where are the PC police?

Updated on August 7, 2017
Garry Reed profile image

Garry Reed combined a professional technical writing career and a passion for all things libertarian to become The Libertarian Opinionizer.

Modern American Robots

Always thinking inside the box creates mechanical windup toys.
Always thinking inside the box creates mechanical windup toys. | Source

The political left had better get ahead of the offensive term "robot" before these entities fulfill their destiny by evolving into feeling, thinking, self-aware sentient beings worthy of classification as a Protected Class under federal anti-discrimination laws.

This re-naming process is nothing less than a matter of political correctness, and political correctness has long been an obsession with America's political left. The left has compulsively, perhaps narcissistically, applied it to itself in a manner described by Steven Pinker as a "euphemism treadmill," the habit of continually replacing one word after another as each goes out of vogue.

When "socialist" became non-politically correct the new fashionability emerged as "progressive" until the public identified it as Socialist Lite so it was replaced by "liberal" which was ridiculed out of popularity and replaced by the tepid "leftist" label which was eventually re-branded as "progressive" for a newer generation unfamiliar with its past until finally the Bernie Sanders campaign took the treadmill full circle by reviving the "socialist" tag.

But libertarians are keenly aware that conservatives have their own forms of political correctness; they just don't call it that. Instead of joining the left in wanting to ban "hate speech" which is just code for George Orwell's "thoughtcrime" they constantly lobby for their own victimless crime laws such as banning certain books, movies, music and video games they don't like because they believe that those things, rather than individuals, "cause" crime and other behaviors they consider to be " bad."

Still, political correctness is strongly identified with America's political, social and cultural left, as is the idea of "protected classes" that shuffles everyone (except white euro-descended Christian males) and then deals them into different categories based on race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, age and other group labels. It's almost like tagging all of us in one way or another as helpless, delicate, childlike "endangered species" who must be taken care of by a coercive government rather than being treated as individual adult human beings endowed with individual rights and personal responsibilities.

Offended Robot

"Robot" will not be a politically correct term in the future
"Robot" will not be a politically correct term in the future | Source

So it's past time to take on the offensive term "robot" before this future protected social class becomes self-aware and feels disrespected. "Robot," after all, was coined by Czech writer Karel Čapek in his 1920 play "Rossum's Universal Robots" which "comes from an Old Church Slavonic word, rabota, which means servitude of forced labor."

This is disrespectful and insulting in the extreme in several ways; an involuntarily imposed religiously inspired term meaning slavery and involuntary bondage. A much more politically correct designation would be Android, or "droid" for short. But droid too is becoming disreputable due to its use as a demeaning pejorative suffix like "Randroid," "anarchodroid" and "libertarian droid" that translates to "stupid mindless follower" in uneducated circles.

The currently popular locution is Artificial Intelligence, or "AI." But what self-respecting Being of Extra-Organic Origin would acquiesce in the defamation of its own mental capacity as being called "artificial" which clearly means fake, false, unnatural, imitation? Even "manmade" would be no better than calling an atheist "God-created."

Neither "cyborg" nor "automaton" is politically correct either since the first is a machine-enhanced human while the latter is a human-enhanced machine. There are many other rejects such as "Replicant," "Cylon," "Borg," "clone," "drone" and "minion" but they all fail the political correctness test as well.

Thus, the most politically correct name for Nonhuman Specimens might be "Members of the Technological Singularity." This refers to a hypothetical future in which each generation of so-called "smart machine" becomes successively smarter at designing and building descendants better than itself until humans no longer have any say or control over them.

The technological singularity highlights the oft-ignored dark side of political correctness. Marginalized groups living on the fringe of larger societies first seek understanding, then empathy, then respect, then acceptance, then equality. But no group ever settles for "equality" when they can sense "superiority" just around the corner.

If Nonbiological Superintelligent Entities ever develop the ability to take over and dominate humanity they will, much in the same way and for the same reasons that humankind took over and dominated all other species, and in the way that more advanced human societies took over and dominated other less advanced human societies. Science fiction writers and futurologists have long been warning us about such a destiny.

Warbots: If they become smart enough to repair and build more of themselves...?

Meanwhile, back on the political correctness treadmill, it may be necessary to recycle "robot" in the same way that "socialist" has been cycled to "progressive" to "liberal" to "leftist" and back around to "progressive" again. In fact it may be necessary to recycle "robot" all the way back around to the non-flesh-and-blood's equivalent of Adam: Talos, described in early Greek religion (now contemptuously dismissed as "mythology"), was a giant bronze "living statue" forged by "the divine smith Hephaistos" (just as Adam was forged by the divine smith "God").

Thus we have the politically correct name for robot – at least for now: "Children of Talos." After all, if "socialism" can make a PC comeback with Bernie Sanders' political candidacy why can't Talos make its own PC comeback?

Talos, giant automaton of Greek mythology, from an Athenian vase c.400-390 BC.

Talos, Father of all future non-biological sentient beings
Talos, Father of all future non-biological sentient beings | Source

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