Monday, August 3, 2015

So long and thanks for all the hitch...

What's wrong with people? Well, lots really, but specifically what's wrong with the people who vandalized hitchBOT?
I mean it. We're pretty screwed up as a species.
Zeller, her robot and some dude.
Ok, first I should probably explain what the hell hitchBOT was, because let's be honest here, you didn't click on the link. See? I know you all too well. Frauke Zeller and a team of roboticists from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, built this vaguely anthropomorphic robot from like dryer hoses, rubber gloves and a bucket, equipped it with a computer that can carry on conversations and left it on the side of the road. You know, for science.

That idea was that people would pick it up, drive around with it, take pictures and then leave it for someone else. And it worked because Canada.
For those unfamiliar, this large, grey-ish mass is Canada. It's like
America except colder, more polite and they have poutine.
"Woooo! Can-a-da! Can-a-da!"
Zeller's robot made it across the entirety of Her Majesty's Dominion of Canada, which is goddamn enormous. Canadians obligingly picked hitchBOT up, posed him for photos and then sent him on his way un-smashed-up because despite living among the wolves and yetis in the frozen and hostile climate of northern North America, the Canadians are a civilized people and would never harm a helpless robot/social experiment. So well done Canada, well done, you're an example for us all.

Which brings us to hitchBOT's trip across Canada's neighbors to the south, the United States of Ame-oh...oh it's over.
Are you for goddamn kidding me America?
Above: The last known photograph of
Stanley before authorities found his torn
and crumpled remains in several envelopes.
Yeah. HitchBOT started in Boston and made it to Philadelphia before some asshole trashed him for absolutely no reason other than sometimes people just want to be dicks. I mean what the hell? This thing made it across the whole of Canada and later through Germany and the Netherlands and we have him for like two weeks before one of us just ups and murders him? The vandals then sent Zeller and her team a photo of hitchBOT before letting his batteries die. Like holy shit, that's just mean. That's like tearing up some kid's Flat Stanley and then mailing back the ear or something. So I ask again, what's wrong with people?

We had one job!
Look, I know this wasn't actually an artificially intelligent robot that was going to someday attain sentience and teach Steve Gutenberg a valuable lesson about what it means to be alive, but it did teach us that we, as a country can't handle adult responsibility. Would it have been so hard to just take a couple of selfies with hitchBOT and then send him on his merry? Would that have really been so difficult? It's like that thing in high school when they give you an egg to teach you about parenting. We just failed. Miserably.

For their part, Zeller's team took it like champs, posting a picture of all them together and thanking everyone who didn't wreck hitchBOT in an act of mindless destruction and to them I say, on behalf of all America, 'We're sore-y.' Huh? Oh, it's Canadian for 'sorry.' They're my people, remember?.
"Thanks everyone except America..."
-The hitchBOT team

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