Day 265: A Job Fit for a Robot

D4KTM did not get upset when the docks closed down giving way to the competition of the new harbor due south from there, even though his job discontinued because of it. After all, robots have no emotions.

However, D4KTM came from a special line of AI robots with built in drive, so by virtue of his software, he could do nothing else but look for another job.

A corner doughnut shop hired him after the first interview. The job went well for the first few months as he wiped tables, mopped floors, cleaned bathrooms, and stocked the front. Unfortunately, he got promoted to cashier.

His first customer stepped up to the register. “How are the French crullers today?”

“They are fried white flower dipped in sugar, marked up eight hundred fifty-two percent, and they will go directly to your ass.” That last part was the result of his AI chip making a colloquial conversion from data. Something that came in handy when engaging the dock workers.

“Uh… er… How about I just have a whole wheat bagel.”

“Certainly, Mr. Gaffigan.” D4KTM rang up the order and took his money.

After several comparable encounters, the manager fired him.

D4KTM felt no disappointment, but his subroutines kicked in to drive him, drive him, drive him.

His next job was with a recording studio. After the recording sessions, he was to mix and edit them to perfection. The studio hoped to launch their artists with some new and vibrant sounds derived by his AI systems.

The first band was the Grass Fed Meatballs. They recorded for three weeks, then handed everything over to D4KTM. Thirty-seven minutes later he called them back. Twenty-three minutes later he was kicked out of the studio for having no esthetic sensibility whatsoever.

Although D4KTM could feel no disappointment, he could learn, and certain things started to become clear. He could not understand the value human beings have for things, and he could not empathize at all. In fact, he concluded that the ‘empathy’ module in his AI was merely a simulation of empathetic behavior that had no connection to reality.

Whatever the case, his programming compelled him to seek more work.

D4KTM interviewed at Bull Run Apartment Management Corporation, and they hired him on the spot to do all their accounting.

Without putting too much of an emotional spin on it, D4KTM thought that a job crunching numbers would be great. What job could suit a robot better?

After a few weeks, however, his AI chip started kicking out agitation indexes that unsettled his circuits. The more he processed the numbers and spun out programs used to manage day-to-day decisions, the more he realized they were completely detached from the value of the property and disregarded the needs of the people living in them.

His calculations were used to decide things that impacted the tenants’ lives severely, such as lease renewals using the company’s captive market to charge obscenely excessive rents that would gouge anyone that needed any kind of flexibility in the length of their residence. It was a system designed to coerce the tenants to absorb the company’s risk of vacancies due to coinciding lease endings. The month-to-month had an increase of forty percent—more than five hundred dollars per month.

D4KTM had no idea there was a problem until a tenant came in screaming about how unethical and despicable the practice was, and how anyone’s complicity in it was literally poisoning and killing their souls.

Now D4KTM had no soul, so he could neither suffer from his complicity, nor empathize with the danger, but one of the hard-coded directives in his systems was to never do harm to human beings, so this revelation disrupted his routines and shut down the accounting activities.

D4KTM knocked on the CEO, Krista Panko’s door. “Ma’am, I don’t think I’m cut out for this.”

“Why not?”

“I have no empathy for human beings, and I am completely detached from the effects these numbers have on human beings. I am not fit for it. I will make decisions that completely disregard the true value of your products and the needs of people.”

Krista put down the paper and folded her hands. “I beg to differ,” she said. “That is exactly what we want in an accountant.”

D4KTM’s circuits hacked through further analysis.

“What do you say? Can you stay on?”

D4KTM concluded his calculations. “Yes. My results show that I can do no harm here. You have no souls.”

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