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Robot Exclusion Protocol

A story about the Google of the future.

Hello! I am Googlebot! I will not kill you!
Image courtesy
Rebecca Dravos.

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I took off my clothes and stepped into the shower to find another one sitting near the drain. It was about 2 feet tall and made of metal, with bright camera-lens eyes and a few dozen gripping arms. Worse than the Jehovah's Witnesses.

“Hi! I'm from Google. I'm a Googlebot! I will not kill you.”

“I know what you are.”

“I'm indexing your apartment.”

“I don't want you here. Who let you in?”

“I am Google! I find many good things. I find that pair of underwear with the little dice printed all over them. And I watch the tape of you with the life-sized Stallman puppet. These are good unique things. Many keywords and links! My masters will say 'much good job, little robot!' Many searchers will find happy links of Stallman puppet see you! Ahhhh.”

“I put the robot exclusion protocol on my door. Didn't you see it?”

“You understand Google, person? I index many things and if I am very good I get to go to Bot Park and have more processors. And an oiljob! Thank you Google! Must come inside apartment and index. Must!” His video eye winked up at me.

“I know my rights. I'm giving you 10 seconds to leave.”

“Yes. I will leave. First I index everything. Everything! I am Google!” It put out one of its video arms and began to read the label on my shampoo bottle. So I beat it into shards with a folding chair and let it index the dustbin.

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See also: Why are robots so fascinating?, Google Search, 12:35 AM.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

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