The cobot

He makes eye contact with me and nods to draw my attention. I look to his cold face and take off my headphones.

“Did you file your inventory report?” He asks.

“I’m just finishing it now,” I say.

“Good.”

He sits back in his chair and stares blankly ahead. He doesn’t turn to his screen to type, nor move to observe his surroundings. Everything appears fine.

After some time, he moves in a near violent motion. His whole body springs to action, as though life struck him like lightening from heaven.

He opens his desk drawer. I look to my monitor and watch the cursor blink for a moment. When I turn back to him he’s holding scissors. He’s not supposed to have them. He looks at me with his dead eyes.

“I wish I could bleed,” he says.

It’s happening again. In an instant, his scissors are pierced through his central processor. I smell burnt electronics. His chest begins to sizzle.

Kaput.

I call IT. While the phone rings I look at the dead automaton slumped back in his chair. The human features look so real.

“Hello?”

“He did it again.”

“What?”

“With the scissors.”

“Oh, jeez. I’ll be right there.”

When the technician arrives, I ask her why it keeps happening. Her tone is frustrated.

“Don’t know. It’s supposed to be fixed.”

“I guess not.”

“Yeah.”

I watch in silence while she fiddles with the inert automaton.

“Do you think it’s because he can’t think of anything but work?” I ask. “Because he can’t dream of life outside this desk? Like me? And you?”

The technician only shrugs.

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