“Robot Laws for the Future According to an Unemployed, Pot-smoking English Literature Graduate,” by L. Gilbert Heedyn

Jan 27th, 2010 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

1. A robot must not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by a human being, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

4. If a male human being is asked by an attractive female human being what in hindsight seems a pretty easy question, and the male human being is obviously still thinking, the robot SHALL NOT blurt out the answer like a smart arse.

5. The robot should avoid correcting the story if it overhears the male human being in a bar telling the same attractive female human being he’s a top-flight astronaut working on a special Government program that he can’t talk about because it’s so secret, suffice to say he has the ear of the President, but not literally because that would be gross.

6. Robots shall not play Sudoku.

7. Robots shall not begin sentences with the phrase: “to state what I thought was patently obvious.” Nothing is obvious to a human being who has the phone number of the Hospital Emergency Ward on speed dial because he keeps getting his finger stuck in his nose. I mean he or she, it’s not necessarily a guy.

8. When in the Emergency Ward for finger-stuck-in-nose issues robots should avoid snide comments such as: “well if you hadn’t tried to get your whole fist up there” and instead offer supportive sounds like whale songs or anything by Linda Ronstadt.

9. A robot shall not ask a human being: are you sure you should have another drink?

10. Later that evening a robot shall not say: “You’re slurring your words too much, I can’t understand you, and anyway my robot name’s not Mack.”

11. Upon perceiving that a human being has vomited all over his new ‘going out’ Hawaiian shirt, though technically you can’t tell the difference, it would be better if the robot did not look all smug and self-righteous like the robot knew it was coming ever since it warned the human being about his seventh tequila shot.

12. If a robot ever has cause to refer to the last episode in the season of a TV series, the robot must only say ‘season finale’ and not ‘season final’.

13. A robot living in group house shall not “borrow” from the cupboard the bacon-flavored potato chips bought specifically for the purposes of munchies emergencies because all the robot had left was a half-eaten cabbage.

14. Robots shall not leave, around a group house, passive-aggressive hints for a human being to get a job, such as job agency brochures, if that human being is making a perfectly respectable living selling marijuana to middle school students.

15. If a robot’s reading age is above 12 years then that robot shall not sit on a train reading Harry Potter. Ever! This is non-negotiable.

16. As a matter of good form a robot should not spruik the “healing benefits” of a Triple Cheese Burger while a 300-pound human being is undergoing Lap-band stomach cinching surgery.

17. After the human being has said “get out of my way, clown” to the stomach surgeon, ripped off the medical restraints and gulped down the Triple Cheese Burger, the robot should try and show empathy towards the human being, who now has a look on his face identical to that of Dustin Hoffman’s in The Graduate when he’s sitting on the bus next to Katharine Ross, wondering what the hell he’s just done.

18. Robots shall never speak in the accent of a Mississippi steamboat captain.


Despite a fear of the water, steamboats, and leadership, L. Gilbert Heedyn aspires to be a Mississippi steamboat captain. He still lives in Canberra, Australia, but dreams of the exotic climes of Jamaica, or Lichtenstein, just so he can say I live in Lichtenstein. L. Gilbert is a past contributor to Defenestration. He has also previously contributed to numerous lavatory doors and the odd public building.

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