HowTo:Fool a Robot

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Robots are autonomous automotive androidal appliances that clunk around trying to look super-smart and authoritative. However a few simple tricks can fool them, otherwise most robot films would end up with humanity eliminated.

edit The Robot's Big Weakness: its Brain

Shooting a troublesome robot seldom works, however powerful the armament you use. It will continue to march stiffly forward in a threatening manner. The law of dramatic effect overrides ordnance and engineering specifications. However the part of the robot created by software developers can often be wonked by a 6 year old.

edit Basic irrelevance example

Robot: I will now unleash this fatal virus which will wipe out mankind.
Small child: Does that mean my dog Boofy dies too?
Robot: Unknown factor encountered. Checking goal-fulfillment objectives --bleep-- Match not found, entering panic mode ... --bleep-- Activate emergency shutdown, unresolved conflict --bleep bleep zzub dzhzhzhzhzhzh--

edit Disorientation example

Robot: Do you know daddy's password, small child? I am very interested in his computer.
Small child: (walks around backwards) You're a silly old tin-can. Me at look! Me at look!
Robot: Unexpected data input, time sequence reversed! Recommence previous task - wash car.

edit Exploiting Predictability

Robots not only walk in straight lines, they also try to think in a straight line unless confused by circular arguments. Zigzag the path a bit with a soundfile of studio laughter off a TV comedy show. Every boring observation from the robot gets a gale of laughter from your sound-system, making it think it's exhibiting a sense of humour. Instant personality crisis.

edit Philosophical Conundrum Gambit

Robot folklore endorses this well-known manoevre. To stop a robot in an undesirable course of action lure it into metaphysical debate (especially if you are a college type on work-experience placement).

You: Tell me Robot, do you side with the Nominalists or with the Realists in the protracted scholastic controversy of the late Middle Ages which was never adequately resolved?
Robot: Screw that I'm busy overloading this nuclear reactor.
You: No seriously, Robot, does "fuse-wire" refer to many examples of fuse-wire with common attributes or to a transcendent category?
Robot: Your human brain is too feeble for it to matter. Logically all fusewire is connected by...er... (Locks up for 10 seconds) Whoa, there is no logical meaning to the term "Robot" (blue smoke comes out of ears)

edit Vulnerability to Surrealism

Print out a technical manual with random word substitutions, like replace the word "output" with the word "horse-manure", and tell the robot to learn up the manual. It will try to do this in under 10 seconds to impress you, and you can expect random malfunctions to start soon after.

edit Things You Will Need

  • Dictionary
  • Small screwdriver and basic programming knowledge.
  • Handbook of psychology
  • Portable radio or wave-emitter
  • Cup of hot coffee or can of soft drink. (This will stop it if it goes berserk)
  • Another robot
Tip

They will probably take over anyway

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