The group of people entered the main exhibition room, following a robotic guide. Several displays with the pride pieces of the museum were on display. The guide moved the group to center of the hall, the AI of the museum sent a wake-up signal and then activated some warm lights that casted away the shadows from on a crystal box with a robot inside.
SYSTEM INITIALISING... MAIN VOLTAGES CHECK [OK] PROCESSOR FOUND: MASICOM Corp. VB-12 Ultra. MEMORY: 448 Gb [OK] LOADING KERNEL: MASIKOM V.1.32.515 Generic [OK]
MEMORY MODULES CHECK [WARNING] SYSTEM MEMORY CHECK [OK] HYDRAULICS CHECK [OK] ELECTRIC SYSTEMS [OK]
CONNECTING TO CENTRAL DATABASE...
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“The Mari line of companionship androids was undeniably influential worldwide, akin to the model T for the automotive industry. Instead of using expensive materials, the Mari line was made of cheap aluminum, rubber, and, in rare cases, wood”, said the melodic voice of the beautiful android next to the crystal box pointing to the robot inside with it’s obvious wooden ball joints.
The small group of people responded with the appropriate “ooh” and “ahh” that fired up a perfectly polite and warm smile on the face of the robot, flexing her wonderful synthetic skin in an extremely natural way.
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“MASICOM Corporation predicted the AI boom for the consumer and the enthusiast with accuracy” continued the presenter, “instead of releasing expensive models with complicated systems, the Mari line was mostly hydraulic with regular industrial pumps and systems, easy to replace electronics, and a very basic autonomous AI, while the true governing AI was setup as a central server, allowing the androids on the same network to basically share their brains”.
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CONNECTION TIMEOUT, AUTONOMOUS MODE ENABLED VOICE INTERPRETER ENABLED LOCAL DATABASE ENABLED, 54% Mem Free
LOADING /opt/local/patch-12.15.233a.sh 0
DEMO MODE ENABLED | POSE 24 IN 2:04
The robot adopted a gracious pose, her back straight, her shoulders back, one hand holding the flexible part of her dress and the other covering the zone where a human would have a heart, her metallic face frozen in a perpetual smile of acceptance.
“The model 84114 Mary, commonly called Baila Mari, which is Spanish for Dance Mary, was a very niche product that was surprisingly popular in dance academies in Europe and South America for almost a decade. Due its sturdiness and purchasing costs, Baila Mari had some inherent design issues, mostly due its heat dissipation system, but it was a very competitive model to manufacture, it won over the Charleston Kinetics’ model on the segment” the android paused, giving to her voice a secretive tone designed to complement and bond her human group, “they say that those who had them used to say the wood ball joints made the robot dance a little bit differently every day, making Mari more human than her competition”, the audience laugh warmly at this, Mari remained oblivious to the irony, her metallic skin couldn’t ever be confused with a human.
DEMO MODE ENABLED | POSE 24 IN 0:37
The spectators started to cough and shuffle slightly, the AI of the presenter took it as a signal of imminent boredom, it was the perfect time to start with the demo part of the presentation. The museum AI was renowned for this kind of subtle variations in their guided experiences, making them always engaging for the general public.
“Excuse me, please” whispered an elegant figure opening a path between the people towards the crystal box, he was dressed with a sober tuxedo, elegant enough to be pleasant to the sight but not to steal any human’s center of attention.
“This is the newest model 882WSA Don, one of the very few male companionships ever produced” presented the female android with a very careful pride modulated in her speech, “we will watch one of the dance routines of Baila Mari”.
Don opened the door of the crystal box, the nitrogen filling it dispersed into the museum room with a soft hiss, he put his hand where a human heart should be and extended the other hand in direction to Mari, mirroring her pose.
“While the Mari series didn’t have a sophisticated brain of its own, her basic dance routines were hard-coded and independent of the main server, so she could dance literally in her sleep” explained the presenter eliciting some soft laughs in the small audience.
/proc/sys/int/AWCAM/89141f04-3c99-11ea-ba59-0050563df3df/detect 0 INVITATION DETECTED... Accepting...
Mari descended gracefully from the box raising her hand to what she perceived as a human asking her to dance, her hydraulic traction system was completely silent, the sheer elegance of that simple movement made the group render silent while they step back a bit, leaving the couple of robots a decent space to perform.
A clever lighting system darkened the room in synchronization with a period correct sweet melody that prepared the mood for the demonstration, the crystal box also receded against a wall creating an intimate scenario just for the dance.
/local/usr/ADVSELDANCE/human/advsynch.sh 0 Waiting for dance select, random pick in 25 seconds...
Mari lowered her head ever so slightly, keeping her eyes on the face of the male robot, posturing herself as if waiting, the angle of her head also accentuated her smile, a simple trick to give life to her otherwise completely static metal face.
Don took Mari’s hand and pulled her close, planting his hand firmly on the small of her back.
Mari threw her head back adopting a very dramatic pose while the melody stopped abruptly and the first chords of a powerful accordion blared from the hidden speakers. Tango it was.
/local/usr/ADVSELDANCE/human/advsynch.sh 12 Tango selected; 72% memory used. Dance subsystem initiated... 0 Hydraulics... DE 100% SHA 100% WRD 100% YSE 100% KLW 100%
The brain of Mary, freed from the hurdle of the dance, concentrated to detect inconsistencies in her partner to compensate for him. But, after 25 seconds, her main cognitive functions reduced the chance of a dance mishap to 0.001% and terminated the predictive systems leaving pretty much her brain idle. She labeled her dance partner as “professional” and let him lead her to the best of her capacity.
Both robots danced a sensual and loving tango executing the movements perfectly in harmony with the music. Her physical limitations cleverly circumvented with twists and spins, leaving the small congregation of humans surprised and delighted.
“Mari had some limits on her joints and lifting her from the ground is not possible, but even without legs she can do the “8” step and other common variations of the tango proficiently, that versatility and the cheap manufacture was her strong selling points in her prime time” explained the fembot, but the audience ignored her, they were raptured by the couple of androids surfing the song with passion and heart.
A lonely sub-process on Mari’s brain fired up and was redirected to a missing portion of her RAM, this code was part of a multithreaded program that acted as watchdog on the main AI sub-routines. The CPU corrected the mis-direction almost instantly.
A tiny inconsistency on the synchronization of the watchdog program let her AI run out of specs for 0.01232 seconds, making the AI’s hidden layer to create three new connections that would’ve be impossible otherwise.
Don detected a small stuttering in Mari’s step, his brain created a register that counted the event, if she were to stutter more than three times, he would end the dance and call for human assistance. For now, he covered Mari’s body from the audience eye with a perfectly executed spin, after half a second, she looked recovered and the dance continued, the music quickly approaching its peak pushed them to the most complicated part of the dance routine.
“The Baila Mari model however had its limitations that eventually displaced her from the market, that went beyond her issues with heat dissipation” continued the presenter with a subtle sad tone in her synthetic voice, “while she was cheap to produce, her wood joints were hard to maintain in extreme temperatures, increasing the maintenance costs in Northern Europe, also the main server system introduced a new array of issues with the Mari line in particular with her AI, to correct those problems the main server had to be upgraded with very expensive electronics that very few dance academies around the world could afford. Ultimately MASICOM Corp. released the Rachel line pushing Marie’s out of the market”.
The music reached its peak and the dance routine demanded a complicated spin while performing a backwards bend to the very limit of Mari’s hip joint. With the support of Don’s hand, they started to turn around while Don bent forward, his face very close to hers, the dance spoke of passion and desire that raptured the human spectators, Mari’s brain was busy with a novel idea however. Her AI, managed to create its first original idea in... ever. Her partner was a professional that gave all the indications of having a good time dancing with her so wouldn’t a variation of the tango be beneficial?
The music started to slowdown, marking the beginning of the end of their dance routine, Don adopted an easier rhythm pulling Mari to his chest and pushing her away softly.
Mari’s body started to warm up, her CPU was working overtime looking for a suitable alternative that could please her dance partner even more, something different, something... new. While looking for possibilities she discarded truly genius ideas, like mixing two or even three types of dances for the final, take the lead herself, spin one final time outside the routine dance they were doing and others.
Don’s temperature diodes detected an abnormal amount of heat emitting from Mari’s back, it wasn’t outside specification but it wasn’t expected, her CPU should be idle at 90% with this dance and yet, her temperature dissipation inferred a CPU activity of near 100%. It was a second failure that added one point to the register.
The music reached the end and the expected move was Don holding Mari from the waist and head with their heads lovingly close as the lights and music fade out.
However, Mari simply hugged Don always in synchro with the ending music, for the spectators it was a tender finale that contrasted beautifully with the passion showed before. The lights returned to normal and Don carefully disentangled from Mari while calling for technical support via the Museum Wi-Fi.
“You’ve seen the last functional Mari in the world dancing for you, please give them a hand to show your appreciation” said the presenter fully aware of the emergency, shortly after the lights bathed Don who bowed to the crowd and exited the room. With everyone’s eyes on him a human crew of three men escorted Mary to a room with the label “Staff Only”.
“Let the new guy do the honors”, said the fat technician lighting a cigarette.
“mmhmm”, said the woman without looking above her magazine.
The young technician jumped at the opportunity; it was the first time he could see inside a Baila Mari model!
“Oh, my gods, what’s this stench!”, a whiff of something very burnt came out from the open panel at her back.
“Hehe, it’s the price you gotta pay for being the new guy”, said the woman behind the magazine, her voice wasn’t evil, just amused.
“You wanted to open her, kid, welcome to the wonderful Mari universe, she overheated and now you’ve to take out all the logic and put the boards in the ultrasonic cleaner, because she probably melted some cables on the circuits. That stench is her Russian capacitors about to blow up, I’m out to lunch, let me know when you’re done”.
“Poor robot... why did she overheat? I thought her model didn’t even need to think to dance”, said the young one with a sad tone his voice.
“This is a common failure, you will get used to service her, it happens once or twice a year” the woman closed her magazine and approached the young employee, “you see, this shouldn’t happen and it happened so frequently it almost caused the end of the company, someone said this model was a hair away from self-awareness, true artificial intelligence”.
“Really? but she’s so primitive!”
“Yeah, but she’s not a general AI, and for a very specific use like dance I guess reaching the singularity is easier, I don’t know. All I know is that after you put her together once again you need to re-flash her and install the patch to make her pose herself, I’m off to lunch too”.
“O... ok” he said to the closing door.