A robot knows only what men want him to know.
“Go! Come on! You can do it!!”- three different voices shouted from behind.
A wonderful view stretched in front of him. Mountains, mountains, mountains… And each had a snow cap on the top. One would think: “Just keep on sitting comfortably and enjoying the view!” But no! He decided to show off before girls and slide down the slope on the snowboard. He had no perspective – it was the third time in his life when he stepped on the board.
“Where on earth am I going? Stop!” – said he to himself with despair. But he pledged his word and there was no way out.
“Go!” – the girls were shouting.
And he sledged off. Five, ten, twenty meters… In the meanwhile without falling. When he passed thirty meters more he decided to stop, but while making a tight turn he clumsily fell down. All covered with snow he took off snowboard and began climbing. He hardly could move – the thought that he would be mocked at didn’t let him go. Only fifty meters and, moreover, with a falling! An excellent snowboarder!
Suddenly he heard a strange hollow rumble. That low noise filled the space all around, becoming louder and louder. And then a terrible toneless blow. He already saw how a giant white mass hurried towards him.
“A snow-slip…” – that was the last he had time to think about.
* * *
He found himself lying on the floor of a large light room. It was almost empty, there were only bare grey walls and a large window, from which one could see the sun shining brightly into the room. He didn’t remember how he had got there. Nothing at all. He was hot and realized that he was in his sport-suit. He remembered all in a moment. But he couldn’t tell where he was.
“Hey! Anybody! Help!” – he started shouting.
Suddenly a hole appeared in the floor. From the underground a small platform lifted. A middle-sized dark green robot was on it.
“Good afternoon!” – it said. It had no mouth but suddenly it very clear. “My name is K-2512. We – the Robotized Society – are happy to greet the last man on the Earth!”
The man stared at the robot without any motion. At last he forced himself to speak.
“Good afternoon!.. Er… May I know where I am? And what has happened?...”
“Of course you may! – was the answer. “You are at the Major Base. I want you just to listen for a while. That is OK?”
The man didn’t say a word, he just nodded. The robot started its speech.
“Long ago Men invented robots. First robots were primitive, but they already could fulfill the orders that Men gave to them. That was not enough. One day They invented a positron brain for robots, gave us main laws and commands. It allowed robots to think themselves, to receive information, analyze and moderate it. Nevertheless Men were superior to robots: Men could love and hate, Men could be wise or foolish, They had imagination and fantasy. They wanted robots also to have imagination and emotions. And They almost invented it.
But there was something that Men wanted more than clever and obedient assistants. It was nuclear weapon. Men thought that one who gets it would have absolute power and unlimited possibilities. That caused the death of Human civilization.
People died out during the Nuclear War. Those who stayed alive were killed by few nuclear explosions. Men had made robots to be immortal, but They couldn’t give immortality to themselves. We did all we could, but we can’t make a Man. We could investigate every alive being if there was any.
If People left the path of technological progress and went the way of self-perfection, the improvement of the inward life, perhaps there would be no robots, no planes, no ships and trains, but They would have more chances to survive.
The planet is now inhabited only by robots which form the Robotized Society. We work for improving ecology and nature. We all are in good condition. We can’t mutate. Every robot knows his aims. You can say that we are perfect. But still we are not superior to Men: we can’t develop.
Today we have found you, the last, as we know, Man on the Earth. We want you to help us. Help us in re-creation of Human be-…”
Everything stopped suddenly. The robot disappeared and the room, too. The darkness reigned in his mind.
* * *
He was now lying in the bed in a small room. He remembered everything exactly. As he understood he was in the hospital. That meant that he was alive, he hoped so. He looked around and saw people sleeping in other beds. So he was in a human hospital. But what about that robot, was it a dream, a vision or some kind of a phantom? He will never know. And so do we. But everyone knows that nothing in the world happens by chance.
You can ask if that man can affect the human fortune. On the one hand – he can’t, he is just one of the millions and millions people in the world. But on the other hand he is a personality, he has such possibilities about which he doesn’t even know. Every person has the power to change the destiny of the whole humanity. He has a choice: to leave everything as it is or to act. It is he who chooses – the Man.