Blogging a Dead Horse

john blumenthal

john blumenthal
January 05
john_blumenthal (On Twitter)
Curmudgeon. Formidable braggart. Comedy writer. Eight books, 2 movies. Former associate editor at Playboy Magazine. Movies include "Short Time," (major flop), and "Blue Streak" (huge hit, no idea why.) Last three novels were "What's Wrong With Dorfman?" (St. Martin's Press), "Millard Fillmore, Mon Amour," (St. Martin's Press) and "Three and a Half Virgins" (Finalist, International Book Awards.) Latest book -- a spoof of romance novels called "Passing Wind of Love."


SEPTEMBER 13, 2012 11:40AM

Robotics Engineer Confesses: "I Built Mitt"

Rate: 26 Flag

A few years ago, when I was teaching Advanced Robotics at MIT, a representative from an anonymous Republican PAC offered me an obscene amount of money to build a generic Republican candidate. "Nothing fancy," he said. "Just something that will fill a suit.

I was confused. "But you already have live candidates," I said. He snickered. "Too human," he said. "Human doesn't work for us. Too unpredictable. Sometimes they think for themselves. That can be dangerous. So can you do it?"

"Fill a suit?" I asked. "Sure. That's easy enough. Bodies are fairly simple. But I should warn you, creating a brain that can think is not easy. Brains are very complex. We haven't worked out all the glitches yet."

The representative informed me that his bosses didn't really care that much about the thinking part of the brain as long as the candidate could walk, shake hands, wave at crowds, kiss babies, make speeches, lie convincingly, look presidential and have good hair. They added that if there was a screw loose somewhere, that wouldn't matter. In fact, he said it might actually be a plus.

"The Japanese are better at this," I told him. "Better school system there." The rep thought I was joking. "We don't want him to speak Japanese," he said humorously. "Gibberish is fine, but Japanese might confuse people. Our base isn't too bright."

"Will you need a wife and kids?" I inquired. "That will cost a lot more, but maybe I can do a package deal. A wife, two kids and I'll throw in three more for free. Maybe even a dog." The representative thought about it. "Nah," he said. "We can probably find some actual generic humans for that. We'll go to central casting for that. Maybe a dog would be a good idea too. People love pets."

"Do you want people to like him?" I asked. "I don't think I can guarantee that." The rep shrugged and said, "It would be nice, but it doesn't really matter."

"What about viruses?" he asked me. "What happens if the computer is compromised?" I shook my head. "I can't guarantee a computerized robot brain that's totally immune to viruses," I admitted. "He might say bizarre things. Or, more likely, he might simply shut down completely until I can reprogram him. If that happens, he might lose all his past data and forget everything he ever did and everything he ever said and just say new different stuff."

"No problem," the rep said. "I'm good with that."

"One more thing," I said. "I can't make a soul or compassion or empathy either." The rep shrugged. "Not necessary," he told me. "He's a Republican, remember?"


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Thus was born The Mittidiot.
Mittbot! You do the ones that clog up OS, too? You should botshot!
Job well done. He fills the suit perfectly.
Hmmmm... is this just another post-colonial, socialist, American apologist conspiracy theory?
Looks like one of your old suits John. Actually they can make robots a hell of lot smarter and more functional than a Republican. Look at what they did with that Ronald Reagan fuckmuppet, he had to be some stoned special effects left over from a bad movie............o/e
Fuck I forget about Georgie Bush what the hell was he? Oh wait, he was just an idiot retard from Texas. Never mind.
Harpers magazine explored this (tongue in cheek ... I think) in a profile whose author referred constantly to "The Romney". He opined that he couldn't be a robot because no robot would be so uncomfortable around human beings.

And nice it is to see you here again, John.
Dear Funniest Man Alive,

You've done it again. I knew there was something "off" about Mitt and now I know what it is. Thank you.
He very well could be a robot, just the stuff they are doing at Sanford Robotics is scary enough. Read this link John you are really going to enjoy it and considering the author and the military's reassertion of its autonomy .
He very well could be a robot, just the stuff they are doing at Sanford Robotics is scary enough. Read this link John you are really going to enjoy it and considering the author and the military's reassertion of its autonomy .
He very well could be a robot, just the stuff they are doing at Sanford Robotics is scary enough. Read this link John you are really going to enjoy it and considering the author and the military's reassertion of its autonomy .
Next time, build it like Watson so he can at least clean up on "Jeopardy." Oh wait, "Jeopardy" has too many of those fact thingys that make Republicans nervous.
I hope you made sure they can't reproduce~
Your talent speaks for itself, usually saying the wrong thing, but to craft a 'bot that has 46% of Americans convinced is quite an accomplishment.
The only error you made was putting the asshole between the wrong set of cheeks.
Robot hemophilia. That was pure genius.
Robot hemophilia. That was pure genius.
Aha! Here's where you all are!

I see that all those folks who came by to take a poke at the Mittibot are the same ones who scream blue murder whenever anyone suggests that OBam-Bam isn't the second coming of .........

if you can figure out the decision-making process of the american government, a robot president should be easy. the difficulty arises when the analysis reveals just who is driving the plane. that document might cause unrest among the chickens. this leads to loss of weight and reduced egg-laying capabilities. better by far to simply intone 'founding fathers, aaamenn,' and direct discussion outward to enemies abroad and at home.

of course, romney may show what can be achieved with bio-chemical engineering, breeding toward a goal with dna manipulation and ruthless culling in a secret lab under the mormon temple. no publicity, no analysis, simply selecting what looks right, sounds right, and takes directions. pretty much like breeding a show horse.
OK, so you can make a robots with artificial intelligence, but you're gonna have to make them a hell of a lot more artificial and much less intelligent if you want them to stand in for politicians.....
Being that I'm a neurosurgeon specialoizing in biomolecular adaptation to electronic facsimile, you were one of my first experiments, and I will say experiements. They always go wrong, but through a trial and error process we surgeons eventually arrive at a subject that approximates what our original intentions were. You certainly have done a great job of forgetting that you were fabricated instead of born. Apparently this has led you on a path of what psychologists call transferrence so now you are attributing your realm of existence to that of others. Please make an appointment to see me as soon as possible so that we can straighten out those radical neural pathways you've developed and start you on a brand new regimen of critcal thought, oh it will difficult for you at first, but you'll come along if you have any integrity left. See you soon.
This explains EVERYTHING.
Mitt's already demonstrated that he's challenged at delineating the boundaries of homo sapiens in believing we share DNA with corporations. Now you're throwing robots into the mix? What next? Holograms?
Classic blumenthal! Witty, clever; simply, great non-fiction! R
Oh boy you're at it again, I love the robotic hand shaking gesture.
At least, there were some discussions and some ideas of what, how, etc. We weren't that desperate then. Of course, nowadays, nobody would need anything like that for our present president - we have everything already: just find an empty chair (the uglier, the better) and put it wherever you'd need it. Saves a lot of money, as well and a lot of effort, 'cause it's not so easy to find any Robotic Engineer nowadays. They all are in unemployment lines all over the country.
Hmm, sounds about right, but are you sure he didn't design Obama too while he was at it, or else switch him after his inauguration? The president's recent interviews sound about as original as an OS error message.

Probably the same guy that invented HAL
Well, the view from my binder isn't great, but at least I will know who to blame if I am stuck here forever. Except when I get to go home at 5pm to make dinner, of course.

Well done.
gibberish is fine!!

laughing out loud, and laughed out loud the whole way through, john. thank you.
If I were an AI robotics designer, I sure wouldn't want to boast of Mitt on my resumé. Bad enough that he stonewalled on his tax records. I can only imagine how he'd balk at the Turing Test.