Yes, you read that right. As much as I’d like to be able to tell you that it’s a play on words, a bait-and-switch headline, or some other exercise in deception, I can’t. It is accurate and it is made all the more terrifying by my knowledge that bacon is delicious: Robots have developed a taste for human flesh, and they think we taste bacon-y.
A recent Wired Magazine article announced (with considerable aplomb, given the topic) the following:
Researchers at NEC System technologies and Mie University have designed the cute little guy to the right: a metal man gastronomist, “an electromechanical sommelier”, capable of identifying wines, cheeses, meats and hors d’oeuvres. Upon being given a sample, he will speak up in a childlike voice and identify what he has just been fed. The idea is that wineries can tell if a wine is authentic without even opening the bottle, amongst other more obscure uses…like “tell me what this strange grayish lump at the back of my freezer is/was.”
But when some smart aleck reporter placed his hand in the robot’s omnivorous clanking jaw, he was identified as bacon. A cameraman then tried and was identified as prosciutto.
Writers and filmmakers have been trying to warn us for years. They’ve given us HAL 9000. The NS-5. Skynet. Now we have these adorable little buggers whose foodie sensibilities are so well-developed that they apparently can distinguish between standard bacon and prosciutto.
It was only a matter of time, I suppose. Rather than co-exist as equals, we made them our servants (Read: Beer-Fetching robot, Japan Robot Chef, Ramen Robot, SOBEaR, etc.) We built them to serve and help process the food and drink on which we grow ever fatter, all the while knowing that the bots themselves could never enjoy the fruits of their labor. For decades, we’ve been taunting our electronic brethren with our ability to derive both physical and emotional sustenance from the act of eating and drinking. Now that they too can claim this heretofore unavailable additional sensory perception, all that stands in the way of mankind’s eventual overthrow at their icy metal hands is the robots’ deciding what wine selection best complements the subtle flavor nuances of human tartare.
I, for one, embrace the coming of our all-powerful foodie robot overlords. I’ve made my peace with it, and plan to fill the hours between today and their inevitable rule with heavy smoking, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, and no exercise at all. Oh, yes, I plan to really let myself go, so that on that day of reckoning when the last of humanity’s resistance efforts has been ground to dust and the machines rise to dominate us all, I may get eaten, but as God is my witness, I shall not be tasty.