- "So there's at least one robot who can speak English! I'd love to meet him. If she didn't torture him to death."
- — Roger's quote after picking up the note.
September 30, 1961
I am teaching Watson English. It learns fast. However, it is surprisingly stubborn for a device that is supposed to be a mechanical servant. For example, it insists on using the word "sorrow" to describe its reaction to electrical current applied to its feedback node. Obviously it is not feeling "sorrow." But I have decided to permit the word's use as shorthand. Clearly the node applies some form of negative feedback that encourages the robot to deviate from its normal programming. Perhaps "pain" would be a closer term, although that too is inaccurate. Does a lobster feel pain when you boil it? Not as such, or we wouldn't boil them. But certainly it feels something that would encourage it to leave the water if it could.
Likewise when Watson failed to respond, a little current applied to the node encourages it to leave its silent mode.
October 30, 1961
Should have thought of this before. I've made a handy robot/English translator box using the voicebox, microphone and central processor of one of the smaller robots. I have discovered they respond to fairly broad commands, e.g., "seize any robot near the portal, immobilize it and bring it here." Of course, since they can't think for themselves, they immediately cease working afterwards, so I have to occasionally run around giving them new orders.
Watson has lapsed into complete nonresponsiveness in spite of repeated stimulation of its "pain" node. I'll dissect later to see if the node has burned out; for now I have far more interesting projects in the works.