Two weeks after meeting attorney Carl Johnson in his office, Mike and Patience welcomed him to their home. He was, Mike thought once again, exactly like he sounded on the phone. A tall, heavy set African American man with a neatly trimmed goatee, Mr. Johnson had the kind of gravitas that would serve a person well testifying before Congress or arguing in the Supreme Court.
“I don’t have too much time,” he said. “My plane leaves in two hours, but I thought I should come by and check in.”
“You are always welcome,” said Patience.
“I told you, Mike,” said Johnson. “The ACLU had no interest in robot rights. Well, it seems you have changed all that.”
“I still don’t know if I follow all the intricacies of the situation,” said Mike.
“It all began with the events five years ago, which I trust you do remember. A group of programmers tried to rip people off using their robots. When they found out they were about to be caught, the criminals tried to cover their tracks by ordering the robots to return to Cupertino and replacing them with look-alikes.”
“Oh, I remember,” said Mike. “The look alike would have killed me if it wasn’t for Patience.”
“Exactly,” continued Johnson. “Patience and a number of other Amonte models refused to follow the directions. This was the first time that Daffodil realized their robots had free will—they could refuse an order they didn’t want to follow.”
“I could have told them that,” said Mike. “All they had to do was live with Patience for a while.”
“They tried to ‘correct’ the problem,” he said, using air quotes around the word “correct.” “They tried to remove the parts of the BioSoft that they thought enabled this free will. Unfortunately for them and thousands of Amonte models, the BioSoft O.S. is extremely complex and doesn’t lend itself well to deleting a piece here and there. That’s why there have been so many malfunctions. Of course, most of the robots who originally refused the order from the identity thieves also refused to download the patch.”
“So what now?” wondered Mike.
“Are they going to keep trying to make me upgrade?” asked Patience.
“No. We have an injunction in court preventing them from making any updates or pushing any changes through the Infinet. I think we have a good possibility of forcing them to roll back to 1.9.1 too. Plus, the ACLU will argue for civil rights for any robots who can demonstrate free will. We may actually have a situation where for the first time robots are recognized as people.”
Patience’s pleasure was amply demonstrated by her radiant smile.