edited by Brian Garrison
Introduction to Issue 23 • Robots
Over 100 years ago, L. Frank Baum taught us that it is our own human beliefs, and the beliefs inherited by the robots from us, that stop our tin-made friends from truly feeling the love they already contain. Twenty poets in this 23rd issue of Eye to the Telescope continue the exploration into life among our fellow citizens, the robots. Some provoke our human fears and loves with poems that speculate on human-robot interaction. Others challenge us to understand the emotions, realities, and questions of being that face each individual of robotkind. We move away from talk of everlasting and feeling-less robots and must accept that even machines are made of physical stuff that must decay. This issue presents poems that try to understand these realities.
We humans sometimes talk about zeroes and ones, but I suspect that numbers have very little meaning to a robot. These two numbers are a poor translation into human language, and offer little as a glimpse into the robot experience. It is no more meaningful to talk about zero and one to a robot than it would be to blather on about sodium, potassium, and other chemicals that squirt in and out of the neurons of star-crossed lovers, an individual crippled by their faulty immune system, or a diner whose tongue is transmitting the flavor of smoked salmon. We must spend a day in the life—walk in the shoes—of a robot. I hope these 20 poems can help humans and robots develop empathy for one another. I hope we can reach an understanding before it comes to a battle of dominance. We all know who wins if it comes to warfare.