Five Questions to Verify if an Entity Is a Robot

Tuesday, March 08 2005

If ever you find yourself wondering if an interactive entity is something other than human, and most likely a robot in your day to day life, here are some trick questions that will help shake out the truth:

1. “Are you a boy or a girl?”
Robots are neither, and therefore wouldn’t be able to answer. Most robots will try to spin it in their favor by saying “Yes”, or “I am neither” which should raise a red flag.

2. “Have you eaten an ice lolly today?”
Robots have no tastebuds and therefore cannot eat ice lollies. Typical evasive counter attacks include “I do not like ice lollies” which you know is impossible, all humans love ice lollies. Also, the fact that a robot would understand what ice lolly even meant would mean that someone programmed him to speak British. Robot makers don’t do that.

3. “Did you see that mute grab?”
Robots will be confused by this. During their computations, they will come to two possible conclusions to the meaning of the question. If they have a display, they can show you two possible computer generated images. The image of a white faced pantomime grabbing someone in the face, their fingers digging in like humans are apt, or someone performing a board sport related maneuver. You should only ask this if neither of those two things have happened within sight of the robot.

4. “Have you told your parents you’re gay?”
Obviously this is the atom bomb of trick questions for robots. Robots have no parents, have no sexual preferences, and finally would get tripped up by the possible double meaning of the word gay. If you’re in a hurry, you can use this one and skip the others. Robot responses might include upper level ASCII characters which might mess with your interface, so be aware ahead of time.

5. “I’m going to 7-11, would you like me to get you something?”
Robots compute things, and will read the questions as “I’m going to -4, would you like me to get you something?” For robots, “going to -4” is the universal code for “kill all the humans” and will trigger their human killing response. This will surely reveal their underlying robot structure as if you are in the same room, you will immediately become engaged in man versus robot combat. If they are somewhere across the globe and you are chatting with them via email, they will launch nuclear weapons if they can, and you will be able to verify their underlying robot structure by the news reports.

I suggest you print this out, fold it up, and put it in your wallet for future reference.