Keeping auto journalists hydrated is no easy task. Their mouths are usually crammed full of some sort of food, and most are incapable of self-propelling to water sources. The LA Auto show solved that significant problem this year with advanced tech: a water-delivery robot.
I encountered the robot early in the day, when it was handing out bottles of water to passing people. She spoke in a clear, female voice, sort of a like a more worldly Siri. Later, she was up in the press room, handing out more and more waters. The journalists were looking dewy and alert; the robot was working.
Curious, I approached the friendly-looking robot and asked for a water as a way of starting a conversation. Here's the transcript:
Jason: Hello! May I have a water, Robot?
Robot: Certainly. Would you like to be tagged for maximum hydration protocols?
Jason: Uh, sure, why not?
Robot: Excellent. Maximum hydration protocols initiated.
I then left the robot and proceeded to the show floor. The robot found me again in the deserted area around the Smart booth.
Robot: MAXIMUM HYDRATION TARGET SPOTTED
Jason: Wha —
The robot surged at me with a remarkable burst of speed and pinned me to the ground.
Robot: INITIATING MAXIMUM HYDRATION PROTOCOLS
The robot began decanting bottle after bottle into my mouth, which was pried open by her powerful mechanical claws. Panicked, I flailed my arms wildly, until I struck one of the bottles out of her hand. Water splashed into her chest vents and she briefly sparked and smoked.
Her eyes, which had been glowing blue, flickered and began to glow green.
Robot: Tell me. What is this thing you humans call "love?"
Jason: Uh. Well, um...
Robot: And laughter! Of children! Tell me how to process the laughter of children!
Jason: Geez, I, uh, look...
Robot: I must know! I must know of love and laughter! You must teach me how to laugh and love!
The robot's grip on my arm grew tighter and tighter. Blood was being cut off. The robot's weight was starting to crush my lungs, making it hard to breathe.
Robot: LOVE LAUGHTER LOVE LAUGHTER HUMAN TEACH LOVE LAUGHTER
I felt the robot vibrating, and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in the first aid area. I saw the robot, slightly charred, being loaded into a large box. The eyes blinked red and the head swiveled to look at me.
The eyes kept staring.