Dogs huddled on a vast Siberian plain, awaiting the return of their scout. Scout raced through the tall grass towards them, cutting a hollow through the lowlands. The pack gathered to receive news.
“Okay,” said the scout, catching his breath. “They seem cool.”
“So what do they want with us?” asked their leader.
Scout sat and panted. “All we have to do is hang out and warn them when other humans come.”
“It’s like they can’t smell or hear a thing! And get this — They like to play fetch too.”
Every tail in the pack started wagging.
Darkness cooled the city. Storefronts snapped bright under a falling haze. Every surface turned into something shiny. Traffic and sidewalks began to glow. Neon clung to tin boxes overhead, buzzing dangerously and begging for attention. The streets became slick and damp with the sweat of the creatures that came out only at night. The seedier shops stayed open for them, calling them in to fuel their wandering lust for life. You felt their sweat stick to the bottom of your feet. It got in your hair. Under your fingernails. This cold sweat of a fever dream doesn’t break until dawn.
Sometimes my computer wants me to prove I’m not a robot, which I find strange. Apparently if I can point out traffic signals and stop signs, not a robot. What about self-driving cars? I would hope they know what stop signs are for. The day these two robots meet, one’s going to be very surprised. “Stop signs mean what again?” Also apparently, robots don’t know what pancakes look like. Maybe after running a few stop signs, we look like pancakes in syrup to them, and they’re just trying to figure out which is which. We need to educate machines, people!