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5 Questions We Robots Hate Answering

Allina Nunley is a writer based in Southern California. Her short fiction has appeared in The Colored Lens, Jersey Devil Press, and elsewhere.
1. Do you use virus protection?
Of course. All robots use virus protection. The transfer of infected data has decimated our population in the past. Most of us are extremely careful. You can't blame all of us for a few bad apples. We know they exist, but you humans need to understand the horrible feeling of being mistaken for a spam bot. It's an awful stigma, and it's really unfair to a robot like me that's never practiced unprotected file-sharing. You have no idea what it's like to see that look on a person's face when they think you're going to ask them if they "like to chat with hot Russian babes." So hurtful.
2. Can you charge my phone?
This one really pushes my buttons. Excuse me, I don't exist to fuel your Candy Crush habit. I'm a sentient being just like you. Show some respect.
3. You look good. Have you had upgrades?
Very clever, human. I've totally never heard that one before. Just because I'm a robot doesn't mean that I don't take pride in my physical appearance. So what if I've gotten upgrades? Isn't it everyone's right to look and feel the way that they want to? The first model generation would have loved to be able to upgrade the way that I can. I'm grateful I can swap out subpar components. Don't judge me just because my robot body isn't "authentic" enough for you.
4. Can you do my math homework?
Contrary to deeply seeded stereotypes held by society, robots are not just talking calculators. We fill a diverse array of professional roles like Cashier, Accountant, and Algebra Professor. Some of us have even made forays into binary poetry. So, no. I cannot do your math homework. I will not do your math homework. In today's world, there's nothing a robot can't do if they dedicate enough RAM to it. CPU capacity is a terrible thing to waste.
5.If we shake hands in the rain will you electrocute me?
What can I say? Look, everyone knows not to get in a bathtub with a robot. That's a way to die. I know it's tragic, but I'm really glad that the incident in Ohio is making robots and humans alike aware of the danger. So, yeah, don't shake hands with a robot in the rain. You will most certainly get electrocuted, and you will die. I have hope that someday scientists will discover a way to bridge this gap in robot/human relations, but until that day we've got to keep things dry.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

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