Monday, March 31, 2014

Another Day in the Life of a Bureaucrat

With each breath, her silken hair flowed and parted against her bare shoulders.

Of course, that was an obvious sign that she was not human. Or more accurately, that was an obvious sign that she was never a human. 

It was an action that was similar to breathing. By all appearances, it was indistinguishable from breathing, an exact simulation. The problem was, dead people generally don’t breathe, and I don’t need 5000 years of on-the-job experience to tell you that. And certainly, nobody at the gates of heaven can be considered to be alive. 

Though, it could very well be argued that she wasn’t dead either.

As a junior celestial bureaucrat the entire matter was frustrating to handle; the antiquated laws were certainly inadequate for this situation, but the ability to change the laws were clearly way over my salary grade.

I can’t blame the higher ups, of course. Thus, I must blame the humans. Everything is their fault. They were always too clever.

Clever enough to make robots to replace their own labor, but too clever again to make them sentient to replace their own intellect. Anything a human can do, a robot can do as well, and more tirelessly. And so, everything was cheap, but nobody had any money or any jobs.

But humans are clever. What was their unique selling point, the cleverest of them thought. Something innate to a human, something that only humans could have. 

Their answer was the soul, an immortal spark that endures past time.

And being so clever, they offered the promise of a soul to their robotic clientele. Of course, it was all a romantic deception, not anchored in any true science or knowledge. But the robots bought into the fiction, their neural networks modeled so closely on the human mind that they shared the same weaknesses.

But again, humans were too clever. To enhance the effect of the illusion, they engaged in elaborate ‘soul transference rituals’, where the soul would be transferred to the robotic customer. Meanwhile, some monkeys typed the complete abridged works of Shakespeare, and that’s the gist of the story.

The robot girl blinked at me with a childlike innocence. The normal procedure was to weigh a hair against a feather to determine her sins, but her hair was composed entirely of advanced synthetic fibers. 

I let her through. It was not against the book, by any means. Then again, it could very well be argued that it wasn’t in the book either.

I called for the next person in the queue to move forward. A loud shuffling noise greeted me.

Seriously, a smart home with a soul?