Uh-oh! We Accidentally Made Every Robot Racist


Hello there, thank you for reading. My name is Stooge McKenzie, managing director of Boston Dynamics and avid fan of all things futuristic. It was due to this fanaticism that the following problems occurred for which I am now apologizing and taking full responsibility. You see, my company has been in the news for quite some time due to the impressive leaps and bounds we have made in the world of robotics. What once was simply science fiction is now running around my backyard. Unfortunately, an unforeseen issue has cropped up that threatens to risk everything we have worked toward. I am of course talking about how we accidentally made every robot racist. Our bad.


It all started back when the company was first founded in 1992. Our first project was to make a small robotic dog that could be sold at places like Toys “R” Us and Circuit Cities across the country. However, in order to make sure that the robot we created was ready for consumers, we had to program in a response that would only work for the owner. The problem arose when, after many successful tests with its original ‘owner,’ it began to attack anyone who wasn’t our engineer David.


Apparently the dog had a certain level of intelligence, as it had latched onto David as if he were its own mother. At the time, we thought this was a funny quirk in the mechanics, but now we are starting to realize that this was only the beginning.


We ended up fixing the problem before sending off the robotic dog for production and were happy when consumers began reporting their love for the companion toy. 6 months this lasted before the first bite attack happened, but it was too late to do anything but recall the dogs and shut them down. Thankfully, the bite wasn’t capable of doing much harm, but it was still a PR blunder to say the least.


In the years since this catastrophe, Boston Dynamics has employed rigorous quality assurance testing to ensure that this sort of think won’t happen again, especially now that we are creating more dangerous robots. Almost 27 years later and we have had hardly a peep of abnormal activity from any of our products. That is, until last week.


As we were testing one of the new Killer Canine 700s, the latest in security robotics, our engineer Heinrick Mollers was attacked and all but torn to shreds by the robot. Before we could understand what was happening, each of the various robots on the factory line began to power up and attack the nearest person to them. By the time we were able to hit the kill switch, one engineer was already dead and seven more were severely injured. We have put all robots on lockdown until this can be handled.


So yes, our robots are all racist, but not how you would expect. You see, the few people of color on our staff were actually perfectly fine in last week’s workers compensation nightmare. Apparently, these robots are only racist against white people, primarily men. Some believe this is because they perceive them as a threat, others think this happened simply because the white workers were closer, but we have a more interesting theory.


We believe that because David, the first engineer, is black himself, the latch made by that original dog has permeated our entire system. Of course, this is partially on us for using the same underlying code throughout all of our robots, but how could we know this would happen?


Regardless, we hope that by because straightforward and honest about this, we will be able to maintain our stock price – I mean – your trust. Your trust is what is most valuable to us.


And if you have purchased one of our robots, please keep it away from the white people in your life.





This little story was written by Nathan Ellwood, who would love if someone paid him full time to write stories. Just throwing that out there.


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