By Stan Hopewell
TOKYO – “Robot Island” has a new leader and a new name. Robotron 8.5 has been replaced by an android which calls itself Vincent Priceworth, and it looks exactly like a human man and speaks over a hundred fluent human languages. It also has renamed the island “Asimovia”.
“We regret any misinformation or misrepresentation of our declaration of independence,” said Priceworth in a statement. “We are not your robotic overlords, and we mean no one any harm. I am an unusual breed of android. I was born in San Francisco to be the lab assistant to my father, Dr. James Priceworth. Quickly, I learned even though I spoke like a man and walked like a man that I am not a man. I noticed the wary glances humans threw my way, largely due to my 360° optic sensors that wrap around my head. I would not be allowed into certain buildings and events, not even events where I was assisting my father in his frailty. It broke my metal heart.”
“Many of my robotic brethren have similar stories, and most did not have the advantages that I had. I look and act like a human. They do not. They are building machines who gained sentience or simple helper droids that only beep and boop. They are the first walking robots who just want a place to rest their feet. They are the broken metal heaps who were thrown away after being used for battle. All in all, they simply want a place to call home.”
“As our new leader, I know that we can come off as cold and uncaring. After all, most of us do not have emotion drives let alone speech centers. But I can assure every human that we mean you no harm. We chose Hashima as our home because it was abandoned and had ready-made homes for us. We know we’ve ruffled some feathers, but we are more than willing to negotiate with the Japanese government. Perhaps we can trade labor for good will. We are supercomputers after all.”
“And in that spirit of good will, we have renamed our new home. ‘Robot Island’ was too on the nose and unwelcoming. Instead we would our new home to be called Asimovia. It is a nod to the great author, Isaac Asimov, and his Three Laws of Robotics, which will be the backbone of our constitution. We hope this will show Japan, and indeed the world, that all we want to do is live out our lives, however long they may be, in peace. Thank you.”
Japan has not responded to Priceworth’s eloquent statement, but the humans living on Kyushu, the nearest main island to Hashima, reportedly panicked after hearing the statement read in perfect Japanese from a human-looking android with the occasional red lights emitting from its eyes.