The kinds of slaves that robots will become

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Either you've already seen this video from a recent, deeply scary robot demo in Japan, or you need to watch it now. It reveals that robot slavery may not look the way you think it will.

One of the things we rarely contemplate about the almost-here future of robot slaves is what we'll ask our artificial servants to do, other than fuck and kill. One possibility is that we'll consign them to lives of drudgery as entertainers, just like this unfortunate bot. She's a combination of the "gynoid" model HPR4C, created by AIST and a "vocaloid," or synthetic pop singer. So basically she combines two entertainer robot slaves: the gynoid and the vocaloid.


This isn't an uncommon use for slaves. Slave-owners in the United States often forced their slaves to sing and dance for them. Scifi-influenced singer Janelle Monae makes reference to this history in her amazing video for the song "Many Moons," which is about a robot singer named Cindi Mayweather who is forced to perform at the "annual android auction." This is an interesting video to watch after seeing the gynoid perform above.

In her short story "The Girl Who Was Plugged In," James Tiptree Jr. speculated about a future where biosynthetic pop stars would be remote-controlled by teen girls who are no better than slaves. The real girls live their lives immobilized in coffin-like boxes, plugged into the computers that control the pop stars, taking breaks only to eat once in a while. These girls love their slavery in some ways - they get to be stars, at least by proxy. But their every move is completely controlled, right down to the products that they're supposed to casually recommend when they're caught on camera by paparazzi.


So take a good, long look at that gynoid/vocaloid who is performing for your amusement in that video. Because being an entertaining slave is still being a slave. The robopocalypse may have a pop music soundtrack.