Terraform, September 17, 2015
“It’s Going to Be Okay” by David Axe
Reviewed by Eric Kimminau
“It’s Going to Be Okay” by David Axe is intended to be a future look at the battlefield with humans as “medics” to the robotic forces. The main character, “Major,” is a “combat psychologist for military robots” or “drone shrink.” He used to treat “normal humans,” before the war and finds himself more and more humanizing his “patients.” The most recent is a “Bear” an empathetically programmed bot “coded to be very very concerned for a person’s safety but to disregard their own except when “our” safety depends on theirs.” Their role as a member of the Medical Battalion to rescue both human and robot that have been “injured” on the battlefield, is literally to scoop them up or tow them back to the human or mechanical aid stations. Upon inspection, the Major discovers the bot had experienced an Asimov paradox. I won’t go into Isaac Asimov’s “3 Laws of Robotics” but to summarize, the Bear had been rescuing an injured human coder who revealed that the enemy artillery that had injured him was his own design. He had been injured by his own creation and the Bear had been frozen by the conundrum of saving a human who was a threat to both himself and other bots. A phenomenal twist. The unfortunate end result was terminal for the affected Bear psyche. I found myself smiling with the realization that the next computer I am asked to repair will have me telling myself, “It’s going to be okay. It’s going to be okay.”
Eric Kimminau is a BBS geek turned IT professional for a Fortune 10 global IT company.