Difference between revisions of "Servant of the People"
(Created page with "'''Pohl, Frederik. "Servant of the People."''' In ''The Best Science Fiction of the Year #13.'' Terry Carr, ed. New York: Baen/Simon, 1984. Category: Fiction See for r...")
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'''Pohl, Frederik. "Servant of the People."'''
'''Pohl, Frederik. "Servant of the People."''' ''The Best Science Fiction of the Year #13.'' Terry Carr, ed. New York: Baen/Simon, 1984.
for robots .
Rev. Robert Reilly, ''FR'' #73 (Nov. 1984): 31.
Latest revision as of 14:53, 14 August 2019
'Pohl, Frederik. "Servant of the People." Analog Feb 1983. Collected Midas World. New York: St. Martins, 1983. Platinum Pohl. New York: Tor, 2005. Rpt. The Best Science Fiction of the Year #13. Terry Carr, ed. New York: Baen/Simon, 1984.
"Josephson-junction autonomous-intellect robot[s]" (Platinum Pohl 244) have the right to vote pursuant to "the Robot E.R.A." (Equal-Rights Amendment ) made possible in large part by Congressman Fiorello Delano Fitzgerald O'Hare, currently running as "a seventy-plus-year-old" () for yet another term. He is opposed by an upstart mayor who (a) is a robot, and hence (b) is "programmed to be fair," polite, and centrally concerned with human happiness generally, plus individual happiness. This robot has also programmed itself to be nearly 20% Mrs. Carrie O'Hare — who is blessed with a "more than photographic, almost robotic […] memory for the names of wives, children, and pets" of voters (248), and "nearly three-quarters" the Congressman, meaning he/it — robot Mayor Tom — isn't out "just for votes" but acts also from "love," just like Congressman O'Hare (251). Robot workers are managed by CIMs, "Central Intelligence Mechanicals," and "the mayor is going to sponsor a bill to give the CIMs a fractional vote" (251). It's going to be a close race, bringing up issues of how much gratitude mechanical voters owe an organic like Congressman O'Hare, whether new-made robots might be "imprinting on [… Congressman O'Hare]! Just like the ducklings in [Konrad Lorenz's] King Solomon's Ring" (250), whether Mayor Tom might be "brainwashing" robot voters (252) — and what true happiness might be for Congressman O'Hare, and humans generally. If robots come to vote as a bloc, they could probably "rule the nation." But the mayor explains — potential SPOILER coming here (but not much of one for experienced readers) — "I am programmed for service […]. To program us for power would mean some very basic changes"; and, he explains with exquisite robot politeness, "No such changes […] have ever been put into effect. Yet" (254). "Servant" may be usefully examined as a gently comic contribution to The Laws of Robotics stories as developed by Isaac Asimov and Jack Williamson, q.v.
Rev. Robert Reilly, FR #73 (Nov. 1984): 31.