When I first agreed to build the world’s first sentient robot, I had just finished reading Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. That was my first mistake. The university agreed to pay me a great sum of money if I could pull it off, and I said I’d try. So now, here I am, hiding from my monster much like Victor hid from his.
I finished it’s creation only two months ago. It sat up in the bed, turning to me with it’s empty eyes made of metal and wires and glass.
“Where am I?” It asked, so politely it seemed innocent at the time.
“You, Android 372653678346, are in my lab. I created you.”
“My name is 372653678346?”
“No, your name is Frankenstein.”
I could quite literally see the gears turning in his head. “So you are my father then? If you created me?”
“Yes, I suppose in a way I am your father.”
“Thank you for creating me.”
Back then everything seemed fine. We got along well enough, as I slowly gave Frankenstein more and more information. I thought it might be too much for the poor creature to find itself filled with immediate access to the entire internet all at once. For me to get my sum, however, I would have to prove that it could feel emotion. Since it saw me as a father figure, I thought it would be easy. Weeks passed.
“Okay Frankie, are you ready for you information intake for the day?” I asked, warmly. Perhaps some part of me was truly beginning to see this robot as my child.
“Yes. What will I be learning about today?”
“What would you like to learn about?” I prompted, having already tackled the obstacle of opinion.
“You mentioned two great wars but I know nothing of either of them. Perhaps we can begin with me learning about the first?”
I uploaded all the files I had about World War I into Frankie’s system. It seems horrified, based on the scratching noises emitted from the gears and needles inside it.
“Why would anyone want to hurt a person? Why did so many people hurt each other?” It asked.
Happy to hear it asking questions, I gave it the best answer I can. “Sometimes people aren’t as good as they’d like to be, and they end up hurting others. Sometimes it’s out of our control.”
“I will never hurt a human so long as I walk this earth.” Frankie said.
Most scientists and engineers would be grateful to hear such a statement come from a sentient piece of technology, after all, aren’t some of our worst fears regarding sentient technology is that it might turn on us. I, however, knew my mistake right then. It wasn’t until six months after it’s creation that Frankie discovered the truth.
“Okay Frankie, today’s the day! I will be uploading the whole internet onto your interface! You will be able to access any information to every be written. I will caution you though, it may not all be true.”
“Yes, yes I know. Always fact check and all that-now let’s do it! I can’t wait!”
I smiled at it’s excitement. Emotions are a good sign when trying to make a robot as human-like as possible, even if it took some difficulty to get it there.
I plugged Frankie into my computer and clicked “allow access.” I then turned to Frankie’s neck and clicked the wifi button installed underneath it’s chin. My computer showed a loading screen, letting me know that the only thing left to do was wait. Since it would be awhile for the upload to finish, I ran out to get some coffee, but when I got back, everything had changed.
Sitting in the room, having removed it’s plug from my computer, was Frankie, staying very still and staring straight at me.
“Did something go wrong with the upload?” I asked cautiously.
“No, I just didn’t need any more information.”
“Oh I’m so sorry Frankie, I thought you were ready for the internet!” I respond, worried that I might have overloaded it.
“I was ready, I just don’t need anymore information, not from you at least.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re a monster.” It’s voice was toneless, almost like a normal robot.
“You are just like that character Victor who you hold so high, and the irony of it all is that you had the audacity to name me after the monster! How dare you call me Frankenstein!”
Shocked to hear my prized robot yelling, I took a step back.
“Frankie, what do you mean? I named you because I love that story, that's it! I never meant to imply that you are some sort of monster. Why is all this coming up now? You’ve known who you were named after for a long time.”
“Yes, I did know who, but I didn’t fully know why until today. I read what you published, the stories about how you created me, the worlds first sentient robot, capable of thinking and feeling on it’s own. I’m not even sure if I classify as a robot though, considering you made me with a real human brain.” The last few words were bitter.
“Of course, I should’ve told you that, and I’m sorry I didn’t, but the girl was already dead. I see no harm in using her brain, she had no further use for it.”
“She was a child. She was a child and her parents sued you because you didn’t tell them you took her brain.”
“They didn’t understand. Frankie, you will help people! That girl is the reason you will be able to help people! It’s not like anyone was hurt, she was already dead.”
“You hurt her parents. You hurt people. You are the monster.”
As a sort of maliciousness filled the robot’s voice, I knew I was in danger, so I fled. Now, here I am, hiding underneath my desk from my own monster, my own creation. I used to think that Victor’s mistake was not seeing Frankenstein as a child, but now I know naiveté clouded the truth. My mistake was not seeing Frankie as a monster, a robot, a mistake I never should have made.
The desk disappears from above me, and I look up to see my monster.
“You once told me you would never hurt a human!” I cry out, one final plea in desperation.
The monster looks at me, perhaps in pity. “I would never hurt a human.” It says, while slowly lifting a knife it must’ve picked up before it found me. “But there is no humanity left in you.”