"Is Mitt Romney a robot?" Practically every clip of Mitt Romney off-script walking among humans leads one to the inescapable conclusion that he may not be of organic origin. He may in fact be an automaton, mindlessly spewing out platitudes according to pre-determined audience programming. After all, his stiff, awkward encounters with "real" people are reminiscent of how a robot unfamiliar with the world but recently released from the laboratory/manufacturer/confines of his spaceship might act if it were placed in society.
Call it the ultimate teleprompter.
Programming a robot to perform complex commands is as easy as having the patience to program those commands, whether that action is assembling parts in manufacturing, playing as a contestant on Jeopardy, or speaking to a political audience.
To prove Romney is not a robot, let's look at Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics:
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
Starting with the third law, Romney is in trouble. Romney's economic plan favors his own interests and those of ultra-rich robots - er, job creators - like him. Whether you agree with this ideology or not, preaching trickle-down economics from a guy at the top of the economic ladder is like Charlie Sheen becoming an advocate for clean-needle heroin clinics. Romney is clearly protecting his own interests. One point for robot-as-world-leader Romneytron 2012.
Romney holds up a little better under Asimov's second law, though mostly because it's less clear. Who, exactly, would be programming his orders? Is he obeying them? One could argue that the Adelson-Koch money and Romney's economic policies, again, are the smoking gun, but without an actual Presidential record to analyze, we're looking at whether or not we can call this a gun at all. The Citizens United decision has led to unprecedented money in campaigns via SuperPACs - but this is not an argument for or against a robotic Romney. If the success of your SuperPAC fundraising is a measure, then Romney is a robot. One could just as easily, however, argue that he is simply "a better robot than Obama". No clear decision on law #2.
Under the first law - a robot may not injure a human being - we may get more clarification. It's impossible not to point out the fact that putting your dog in a roof rack is exactly the kind of robotic behavior(hear Devo's commentary on this) that would get the "tilt your head to one side and look puzzled" treatment in the made-for-tv-movie "Robot Romney makes a Friend". Still, a dog is not a human, so this is not a violation of the first rule.
Has Romney harmed humans? Oooh, Isaac Asimov, you stepped in it here!
Buzz cut for gay classmate? No physical damage. Hair is dead cells. Not a robot. Emotional damage doesn't count.
Romneycare? Helped people get health insurance coverage. State version of Obamacare's socialist programs. No harm there.
Abortion policies? Please. He's saving lives here, even if he's emotionally damaging mothers of rapists. If anything, this proves he is NOT a robot.
The most significant damage Romney appears to have made in his life to humans(besides the firing of people, the espousal of hate speech, I mean beside the OBVIOUS stuff) is the fact that he was a cheerleader in high school.
You can't un-imagine that now, can you.
Mitt Romney cannot play three dimensional chess. This is clear from his poor rhetoric, though we have never heard this from the Romney camp. The Republican party is so diverse, so segregated in its own spectrum of beliefs that being the front man of such a range of ideologies would require an incredible amount of computing power, processing muscle that Romney clearly doesn't have. If he has a computer brain, it's clearly a Tandy. Looks okay on a TV, but really can't do much else.
Mitt Romney regularly contradicts what would be prior programming. Tom Tomorrow explains this by Romney-Bot being dual replications of Romney that never sync up properly, but that's a little far fetched, isn't it? I mean, TWO robots? That would be absurd. One robot, sure, but TWO?
He also makes illogical blunders, and these seem to be blunders based on his propensity to find emotions incomprehensible when he encouters them. According to every science fiction book and movie ever created*, this is the hallmark of a robot mind. Take these statements:
- "Corporations are people, my friend" (MY FRIEND?!!!)
- "I like being able to fire people" (You like ruining...? oh good God.)
- "I'm also unemployed" (*splutter*)
Mitt-O-Matic also has a tendency to tell us that it - I mean HE - has friends who are people who own the things we like in order to ingratiate himself to us. No, I don't like NASCAR, but I have friends who are owners. No, I don't like the NFL, but I have friends who are owners. Every one of these statements indicates a basic inability to understand your audience at the simplest emotional level. I, ROMNEYBOT.
"Join me in welcoming the next President of the United States, Paul Ryan."
This is RIGHT OUT if you are a robot. A robot would never EVER have made such a complete failure of a statement by misstating basic facts. Unless the programming was faulty, like the programmer had accidentally inserted "Paul Ryan" into the field marked "President" instead of "Vice President". hm. Easy to correct.
To be fair, Romney's voting record is pretty complex, and includes a number of reversals of his own beliefs. This is very human, and indicates an ability to synthesize complex information that is very difficult for robots.
Robo-Romney? Not a chance. If Romney were a robot, his awkward exchanges would lead to learning and prevent future gaffes, resulting in an improvement for his robotic programming.
Asimov's three laws are a bit uncertain. Perhaps most convincing argument that Romney is not a robot is the fact that the erstwhile Robomney is so poorly programmed. And this is bad news for America, at least for this election.
Perhaps we could get better programming if we, like the Romneytron 2012 itself, outsourced it?
*Every science fiction book and movie ever created? This is an empirical fact and is therefore indisputable. Note, however, that emotional repression may indicate that Romney is Vulcan, though admittedly far less loveable than Spock. Or worse, Romulan.
Update: an excellent analysis of the sudden upsurge in Romney's Twitter followers from The Atlantic. Hm. One might suspect robot if you believe robots and computers collude together. In an interview earlier this week, Twitter itself responded to these allegations with "I was just following orders."