“So, what brings you here?” questioned Alex, the robot. Ravi replied in a feeble voice, “I need a job, can you help me with one?” “Yes”, replied the robot sternly. “What are you good at?” Alex interrogated further. Ravi said, “I am a software engineer from IIT Kharagpur”
Alex went silent for a moment and then replied, “Well, then you are a threat to me, I fear, I shall not be able to help you!” “But I can build the best robots you want me to”, said Ravi in desperation. “I am aware of your capabilities and fear that you will not make a robot but will break me instead”, said a worried Alex. Ravi almost had tears in his eyes when he went ahead with his last try to convince, “Trust me; I will always be your slave.”
Alex was not impressed, he said, “You are human; which is why I can’t trust you! You can do anything to make money or succeed in life”. “What should I do to win your trust?” asked a curious Ravi. Alex was silent and Ravi waited in anticipation. “Can you work on a code that will help me age like a human and love like a human?” Ravi did not have an answer; he responded after a while, “All I can do is, try!” “You don’t seem to be too confident”, stated Alex. Ravi replied, “I may not be confident, but I shall try my level best.” Alex stared at Ravi and then said, “Well, then I guess, I should let you try, come inside my little house and make yourself comfortable. I shall provide all that you need to do your research and coding. In return, I shall give you a three-time meal a day along with shelter, would that be fine?” Ravi couldn’t believe what he just heard. He nodded his head positively and said, “Yes, that is all I need!”
Ravi had no clue how to go about the code. It was a challenge, which he had already accepted. There wasn’t a choice; he had to do it to continue living. Alex had not given any deadline as such and so Ravi thought he could take all the time in the world for his research. For the first few weeks, Ravi kept wondering. Alex visited Ravi’s room once in a while but never complained. After a month, Ravi could not take it, he told Alex, “What if I am never able to crack this code?” Alex smiled and replied, “You can take your time; it’s okay if you don’t succeed, but you cannot lose your desire to succeed. If I notice that there is no passion left in you, I will fire you that very day!” Ravi felt motivated like never before. “And what if I complete this task? Will you still keep me here?” Ravi sought a clarification. “No”, said Alex firmly.
Ravi was in a shock. He was facing the biggest dilemma of his life. He was not supposed to lose passion, but at the same time, he would also be fired after completing his task. He thought to himself, it is better to get fired after completing the task rather than getting fired for losing his passion.
For the next one year, Ravi dedicatedly worked on his code. He studied the human brain and the kind of hormones it releases when it is feeling loved or is in love. Oxytocin is a hormone that the human brain produces when we feel happy. So he started reading about its properties and thought of ways in which it can be artificially produced. His experiments were a mixture of biochemistry, electronics, and computer science. After seven more years of research, which included thousands of permutations, hypothesis, combinations, and experiments, finally, that day arrived when he managed to recreate Oxytocin. He told Alex about it who was ecstatic after hearing the news. Ravi decided to take a break for some days. He badly needed one as he had worked day in and day out for the last seven years. He had to recoup energy for his next experiments.
The next step was rather easy; he had to write a code as to when Oxytocin needs to be produced. After working on different conditions for the next 4 years, he arrived at a code which he thought was complete. He called Alex to his room and showed him the code. The code had to be programmed into Alex’s body. Alex asked for one final time, “Are you sure this is going to work and it doesn’t have any loopholes?” Ravi was confident this time and said “Yes.” Ravi then went ahead programming the code into Alex. After a few moments, Alex was feeling different. He had experienced happiness and love for the first time ever! He had never felt so human-like before!
Now it was time for Ravi’s second task and so he asked, “How long do you want to live?” Alex was confused. He wanted to experience love and happiness forever. He asked Ravi, “How long do you want me to live?” Ravi was overwhelmed and replied, “I wished you could live forever.” “But, it is against the laws of nature, isn’t it?” said Alex, Ravi was silent. “How long will you take to develop the next code?” Alex continued with his question. Ravi replied in a fearful voice, “It won’t take much time, maybe a day or two.” Alex wanted a specific answer “One day or two?” “Two”, said Ravi. “Well, then I want to live only for two more days as I won’t have any work for you after that. With so much love that you have coded into my system, I don’t think I would be able to live a day without seeing you.” Ravi could feel the love between them as well. “Why don’t you give me another task then?” he asked.
To be honest, “I had no other purpose in life, I simply wanted to understand the meaning of love. And that I have already achieved.” Ravi was furious this time, he said, “then how do you expect me to live without you after you are gone?”
Alex realized that he was being unfair to Ravi. “In that case, I would prefer to remain immortal in your company, but you would definitely die one day, what would I do after that? Also, what task should I give you next” “Anything that you think would be appropriate”, replied Ravi. After thinking for a while, Alex replied, “You can code love into all robots of the world, I am sure all of us would want that!” Ravi smiled, “That’s a great idea!” “But what after you die?” “Do you want me to work on something that makes humans immortal?” asked Ravi. “No, definitely not, because that would make them less humanly and more of a robot of some sort” Both of them pondered again for a solution to their problem. “Well then write a code that will make me die in 1 second and teach me how to program it into my own body. The moment you die, I will install it into my body and I will just have to live a second without you.”
Ravi smiled and also had tears in his eyes at the same time. He never thought that a robot who he considered to be his master, would turn out to be his best friend someday!