Guide to Moral Living in Examples: High-fives

"Small-minded Luddites!" Professor Yilmaz yelled, throwing down his newspaper. Unfortunately, he preferred to read his newspaper through a very expensive sheet of glass above a delicate array of liquid crystals controlled by wafers of silicon transistors and emblazoned with a stylized fruit, so it was an expensive manuever.

He sighed and slid off of his stool to go fetch a broom and dustpan. While on his way back, a robot lurched in front of him. Its eyes glowed an evil red from the deep eyesockets of a ghastly artificial face. The shiny wires encasing his titanium bones tightened as he raised an arm above Professor Yilmaz.

"High-five on a great move!" the robot said.

Professor Yilmaz sighed. If the robot had been one of his friends, he would have suspected sarcasm in the congratulations, but he'd assembled and programmed this robot. He knew that it didn't have the capability for sarcasm.

"Not now, FILL," Professor Yilmaz said, ducking underneath the robot's arm. He swept up the tinkling shards of glass and plastic into the dustpan.

"Why is this not an appropriate moment for a high-five?" FILL asked, walking towards his creator with his arm still raised.

Professor Yilmaz pulled FILL's arm down.

"Because you only high-five when something good happens to somebody," he explained.

"But you did an excellent job smashing that computer!" FILL said.

"I was angry," Professor Yilmaz said, getting angry.

"Why were you angry?" FILL asked.

"Because the troglodytes out there with their inconceivabley dim understanding of science, biology, the world around them, or anything outside of the weak glow coming from their televisions don't understand the technological breakthroughs that I'm making!" Professor Yilmaz said. "Earlier today, the Department of Health passed a measure that outlaws high-fives and makes them a felony. Under the specious claim that high-fives are akin to, let me try to remember the quote, 'slapping together two agar plates overflowing with bacteria.'"

"But I am a high-fiving robot!" FILL said. His rubber eyebrows creased above his eyesockets in a look of worry. "What will I do?"

Professor Yilmaz inspected FILL's hand. "Five In-Line Ligaments, describing the structure of your hand, perfectly calibrated to offer optimal high-fives. FILL. It'd be too much work to convert you to a fist-bumping robot. I shudder to think of the new algorithms that I'd have to write."

Professor Yilmaz shook his head and walked to the garbage can and dropped the remains of his computer inside. A small fly took off from that morning's bagel and buzzed past his dustpan. It settled on the wall above the garbage.

"Stupid flies," Professor Yilmaz said. Then his eyes widened so much that even the fly thought that Professor Yilmaz's ratio of eye to face made him look ridiculous.

"FILL, come over here!"

FILL obeyed and stood before Professor Yilmaz. The latter held up his hand and glanced behind him to make sure that the fly remained there.

"I just came up with a great idea!" Professor Yilmaz said, putting his hand up.

FILL's eyebrows unkinked themselves as he wrenched his face into a smile. The wires along his arms twanged as they strained to throw several dozen pounds of metal forward in a high-five at Professor Yilmaz's hand.

At the very last moment, Professor Yilmaz yanked his hand away.

Before FILL could correct the trajectory, his hand smashed into the wall where the fly had been sitting.

"Too slow!" Professor Yilmaz bellowed.

FILL pulled his hand away. Cracked plaster and powder followed it, careening off of the jagged edge of the hole and bouncing onto the floor. The fly, unfazed, crawled from between FILL's fingers and took off into the air.

Professor Yilmaz's face fell.

"Are you trying to ruin me?" Professor Yilmaz asked.

"Why am I too slow?" FILL asked, looking as downcast as Professor Yilmaz. "It's all my fault."

Then it paused. It's eyebrows creased and its eyes glowed brighter.

"But I only am what you made. You made me this way. I am not too slow. You are too short-sighted!" FILL announced.

Professor Yilmaz looked up into the angry, hurt eyes of his most advanced creation. He was smiling.

"A philosopher robot, yes! You're perfect!"

Professor Yilmaz held up his hand.

FILL considered the hand, then nodded once and they high-fived.

The Moral: humans are sophisticated automatons built by flies to generate and gather garbage without the necessary functionality to be able to enjoy its delicate flavors.

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