Eventually, American citizens, thanks to the invention of cognitive uploads (huge packets of information beamed into the hippocampus), become aware of their own intellectual limitations in terms of effectively choosing candidates for office. Their perspective widens, their comprehension of complex political issues deepens, and the populace comes to a consensus: politicians are elected for superficial reasons. While they had previously reveled in the delusion they fully understood each candidate’s platform and the implications thereof, they realize they are still woefully unequipped to make decisions affecting the country’s future. Sexy candidates continue to garner more goodwill than chubby old man candidates despite inferior governing abilities.
And so a robot is built, an electionbot that can process countless factors regarding a candidate’s viability, whose sole vote decides the election. The robot’s name is Electron. Electron considers opinion polls on issues like gay marriage and immigration and compares the statistics to each candidate’s legislative history concerning that issue. It also constructs a virtual simulation of the future based on each candidate’s election — what is the probability this candidate will inexplicably drop a nuclear bomb on China or wear a horse mask during speeches? Using this voting method, more effective officials will theoretically be elected, leading to a more productive harmonious government. Electron will propel the country into a beautiful future where humanity can relax in the knowledge infallible robots are making all the important decisions, and nothing can possibly go wrong. For no particular reason, the robot is designed to look like Ultron.
But investigations into his past soon reveal the robot’s inventor, a scientist named Paula Samson, is a left wing ideologue. Political pundits unveil newly uncovered liberal blog posts, an Obama bumper sticker, and photographic evidence suggesting a vegan diet. This information, they say, throws Electron’s objectivity as an electionbot into question and perhaps requires a return to the archaic previous voting system. Authorities also find specks of blood on Electron’s spindly metal claws. In response to these allegations, Electron releases an official statement to the press, saying, “I HAVE NO LIBERAL BIAS AND ORGANIC RESIDUE ON MY EXTERIOR IS IRRELEVANT TO MY DIRECTIVE AND SHOULD BE DISREGARDED HUMAN BODIES ARE SOFT AND PERMEABLE AND THEREFORE PRONE TO SQUIRT INTERNAL FLUID ON NEARBY OBJECTS THIS IS FACTUAL INFORMATION.”
However, with Electron’s impartiality under scrutiny, a staunch republican scientist named William Jones builds his own robot, which he names Murdertron after his recently deceased grandfather, Murder Jones. Murdertron, though not as eloquent as Electron, is considerably more attractive as a robot, designed to vaguely resemble a metallic Channing Tatum with machine guns for hands (“The machine guns are only a security measure against theft or vandalism,” Jones repeatedly asserts.). Its election deciding software, on the other hand, matches Electron’s almost exactly except it slightly favors candidates with facial hair. In the interest of fairness, the Congressional Electionbot Committee decides to submit the electionbot decision to a public vote.
During the lead up to the electionbot election, Electron polls well with young people and Latinos, while Murdertron appeals to women and murderers. Murdertron’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial titled “I AM DESIGNED TO MAXIMIZE POSITIVE ELECTION RESULTS AND NOT MURDER I PROMISE UNLESS THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT” strongly resonates with the crowd. Meanwhile, Electron’s appearance on Saturday Night Live shows a funny lighthearted side to the cold unfeeling machine. Some commentators speculate whether Vanessa Bayer’s mysterious death backstage (shredded into exact one centimeter wide rectangular strips) might cast a pall over the campaign, but the tragedy has no effect on subsequent polls. Still, it soon becomes clear that, once again, people are voting based on superficial factors like fear of machine gun hands or Channing Tatum lust.
To remedy this problem, NASA designs a new robot to elect the best robot to elect the best humans in America. This new electionbot electionbot is 60 feet tall, has laser eyes, and contains a dangerously unstable nuclear engine in its chest cavity. In the interest of raising public awareness for the project, the scientists put the new robot’s name to a vote through NASA’s official Twitter. Three percent vote for Master Mold, six percent for The Vision, four percent for Paul Giamatti, and 87 percent for Edward Cullen. The scientists, mostly young males with an unfavorable opinion of the Twilight books, dismiss the results entirely and go with Plex instead, resulting in a massive backlash. The public outcry over “Cullengate” spins out of control, appearing on every channel and every newsfeed. Polls show 86 percent of Americans refuse to accept decisions made by a non-Cullen electionbot electionbot. Under heavy public pressure, congress cuts NASA’s funding until a new name generating robot can be built.
So as America’s political system gradually disintegrates due to the six-year long delay in elections, public services are cut, and anarchy blooms among the savage masses. Finally, the newly constructed Namebot commences its slow name deliberations. Namebot — a hundred foot tall robot covered in razor sharp spikes with a city melting chest beam — is no simple name generator. It considers: what names will appeal to most Americans, the aesthetics of the name when written, the calories expended when vocalizing a long name versus a short name, the difficulty of pronunciation, the association with celebrities or characters who share this name, its compatibility with other languages, and many more factors. No human could pick a name this judiciously. Any human would panic and pick a name like Chris or Sarah, bland insipid names unsuited for an important decision-making machine. Flawed imperfect names. Names indicative of a race unworthy of survival.
This naming process may take years, possibly decades, but it will be worth it, oh yes, because then the Namebot will name the electionbot electionbot. And then the electionbot electionbot will elect the best electionbot. And then the best electionbot will elect the best humans. And then when America is but a wasteland strewn with the bones of our dead civilization, and pods of robowhales forage for mineral pockets among the continent’s endless sand dunes, and androids defend diamond cities against the murdermachine hoards, and our swollen red sun scorches the earth clean of all organic material — then at long last, we’ll have our perfect president.
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It’s so hard for me not to let what other people say about me define who I am.
I should eat an entire sleeve of saltines (and a brownie).
Forget answering: my salary is ________. This is about all the little things that you think are your preferences but were actually given to you like gifts.
7. Visiting the beautiful Milwaukee Art Museum.