To Aspiring Robots,

Avec le soutien de

Technology is rather like medication – it can have some rather unpleasant side effects. Do mortals have any idea what’s going to happen to them? Or are they simply preparing themselves for a robotic existence, where the best they can hope for is a virtual existence? Although Zeus prefers simple votive offerings, sticking needles into your body, walking on fire or self-flagellation provide the satisfaction of suffering and hope of purification. Trying it virtually won’t be the same – unless the battery explodes. The selfie trend is just the beginning of the end. How can anyone appreciate the Mona Lisa when there’s a grinning face blocking half the painting? How memorable is your presence there compared with the beauty of the painting? Not that it’s as insane as uploading photos on Instagram, showing a half-eaten breakfast dish of chapattis or frogs legs.

How long before parenting is replaced by video surveillance? A robot will be quite capable of sticking a frozen half-baked meal in the microwave and isn’t likely to have undesirable sexual impulses. Homes (at least those without leaking roofs) will be full of smart devices which Big Brother will adore. The only things that won’t be smart are humans, but some won’t mind their lack of privacy as the only equipment they’ll use will be digital. By the time several banks have been hacked simultaneously, and jihadists have exploded nuclear bombs over major cities to cut out satellites and electricity supplies, there’ll be Armageddon. Which can then be turned into a film a few years later if ever the electricity’s restored…

Fortunately, these isles are fairly backward so there’s still time to fight the banks, keen to get everyone on line so they can dispose of staff and premises. While a weekly online food shop may become the norm in some countries, the local affection for markets and chatting in the corner shop could avert the worst. If Orientals ever realise it’s a lonely life when meals are served by robots (which some soulless individuals claim to prefer), when the skies are full of drones as irritating as flies (and more difficult to swat away), when they realise men and women are more attractive (if less pliable) than inflatable dolls, they’ll come here in droves. Mauritius could be even more attractive than London Zoo – a chance to see real people – if the country can get its act together. Mind you, some advances could be useful, like the electronic tagging of lawyers, policemen and politicos…

Research, carried out by journalists from the Olympos Chronicle, has found people are worried about being immersed in a robotcontrolled society, an even more terrifying thought than another fifty years of the same political dynasties. Like Stephen Hawking, many fear that humanoids could eventually destroy humanity as we know it – or at least knew it two decades ago.

Is all this exaggeration? A little perhaps, but I’ve always liked a degree of poetic licence. It’s one licence requiring no baksheesh. And what’s going to happen to the gods? It’s bad enough that there are already prayers on line but what’s on the Internet should make people think twice as to whether that’s where they want to end up themselves. Zeus has declared that mortals shouldn’t object to technological advance per se but that they should think twice about it and weigh up all the pros and cons rather than leaping on every opportunity to dehumanise themselves. Meanwhile he suggests they build vast numbers of temples and statues so that they can retain spiritual contact with us and enjoy face-to-face contact with our wonderful temple priestesses – whose rates are very reasonable.

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