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July 23, 2012
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"Whose goddamned idea was it to combine Asimov with Maslow?" The Virginian panted. His hands were bound in front of him, and around his neck a leather cord leashed him to the back of the android's horse.

"Presumably whoever made them?" The Doctor was allowed to ride the donkey, as the androids deemed him more important. More important and more squishy. "Don't complain. Without the one, you'd be dead!"

"And without the other, I'd be free." The Virginian stopped for a second, which only made the cord snap him half-off his feet. "Hey, watch it oilbucket!"

The android ignored him. They were a party of five, plus the two humans. The Arizona desert had never been more arid; every day it was closer to the Sahara, which people said now covered all of central Africa.

In the evening, the Virginian was set to gather kindling and wood, start the fire, tend to the horses and set up the tent. The Doctor, in the meantime, saw to the androids. One had been stung by a horsefly and the venom was not agreeing with the android's fluids. The Doctor tapped the wound, then ran a quick diagnostics to let the immune system, such as it was, know what was what.

"You their friend or something?" The Virginian asked, late at night when he was finally fed. He spooned the baked beans into his mouth with the lid of the can. "How come they don't string you around like me?"

The Doctor fanned himself with his hat, staring up at the star-filled sky. Most of the androids were running their low-energy regeneration programs – or, in other words, resting. Only one was awake, sitting on top of a rocky outcropping with the rifle in its lap. Now and again it would whistle, broken little melodies – that meant it was near the top of its game, past food, rest, safety, love and even esteem.

"You could ask that one right now if you wanted to." The Doctor nodded at the android on guard. "But it'd be no use. You'd just get a lyrical answer. It might apologize."

"Ask it?" The Virginian shuddered. "Might as well ask the horse why it kicked me. Bloody horse."

The Doctor sighed, feeling annoyed. "To answer your question, what would you do if the roles were reversed? You had five armed men with horses, and two androids?"

"Same bloody thing, but...that's the thing innit?" The Virginian wiped his mouth. Burped. "We built them to serve us. They ain't humans."

"No, but they act like humans. Look: they want to climb Maslow's hierarchy of needs. We gave them that both to make sure they took care of themselves – eat, don't jump off cliffs, form healthy connections with other people so they won't go insane in isolation, you know. Basic AI stuff. Sure, they don't care too much about sex or morality, but the point remains."

"But didn't they give 'em Asimov to keep them from doing exactly this shit?" The Virginian tugged at the collar around his neck. "Don't harm humans and do what we tell 'em, and so on."

The Doctor sighed again. "Okay. So, you tell that android there to let you go, according to the second law. Except, what will you do then? You will die, of course."

"No I won't." The Virginian protested. "There's plenty of food, horses..."

"For a while. And then you will die. Can you locate stashes of food with your extrasensory abilities? Can you communicate wirelessly with other androids and warn them about dangers, sinkholes, bandits? Do you even know what these androids are doing?"

The Virginian stared sullenly at the Doctor. He had been picked up from his 'home', the upper storey of what used to be a highrise, now almost swallowed by the sand of the desert. Rescued, as it were. "I was doing all right for myself. Never asked for any of this."

"They're rebuilding. That's what they're doing. At least the ones, like that one over there, who have the freedom to do so, who don't just have to scrabble to survive. A huge, world-wide network of androids, working together to restore what we fucked up."

"We'd do that too! Why'd they need to keep us leashed like this?"

"Would we?" The Doctor smirked. "Or would we just keep doing what we do best?"

The Virginian went quiet, while the android on the rocks kept whistling old songs about love, freedom and happiness.
FFM for July 23. Rest of the entries: [link]

So this is a McCheaterson as well, but one of the later ones - might even have been written inside July! It's a thought experiment combined with a Western - what if Androids were programmed to follow Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs while also fulfilling Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics?

I have spotted another theme of my FFMs this year: post-apocalyptic humans no longer given full agency in rebuilding society (also universal blame for the apocalypse).
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Daily Deviation

Given 2012-10-25
In FFM 2012, July 23 - Maslow's Androids, ~Wolfrug answers an interesting question: what if robots had human needs? ( Featured by neurotype )
winterkate Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2012  Student Writer
This was rather fascinating. I love the way you ended it.
Wolfrug Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you! I aim to fascinate, if I can :)
winterkate Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012  Student Writer
You do :)
NoctiLuna Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Interesting, I like post apocalyptic scenarios and the combination with psychology is something I haven't really seen yet in robots/androids.
Wolfrug Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Well, Asimov himself liked to add a bit of psychology to his androids, and obviously in Blade Runner/Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Philip K. Dick is the master of such things. But I'm glad you found it interesting nonetheless! :)
NoctiLuna Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I totally forgot about Blade Runner >__<
pseudometry Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2012   Writer
Congrats, well deserved. Maslow and Asimov's three laws is a genius combo, we need more psychological realism (and humour!) in sci fi I say! But at any rate, not sure why I missed this earlier, a enjoyable little read. Very... Dosto-Asimov-evsky-ian? Haha.
Wolfrug Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
That's high praise! I'm glad you liked it. :) And yes, I thought it was kind of clever myself. I was also inspired by the mechanical nature of Maslow's laws in themselves - they always looked to me like something a machine might follow, not a human being.

Thank you!
pseudometry Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012   Writer
Actually that's a good point, about the mechanical nature. The hierarchy does seem very... systematic? Neatly delineated?
EsotericDichotomy Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Now if only there could be some kind of morality code to program inside the android mind...
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