Happy Circuitry

circuit

 

Happy Circuitry

                        for Margaret Rhee

The body’s landscape defines its genealogy: my father was a board,
my mother, an integrated circuit, my great-grandmother, an abacus,
and her progenitors, tally sticks. In the third century the artificer
Yan Shi presented a moving human-shaped figure to his king, and
in 1206 Al-Jazari’s automaton band played to astonished audiences.
Nearly 300 years later Da Vinci designed a mechanical knight, and
four centuries after that Tesla demonstrated radio-control. Twenty-two
motors power my left hand; Asimov coined the term robotics” in 1941.
Pneumatic tubes line my right. Linear actuators and muscle wire,
nanotubes and tactile sensors, shape my purpose, while three brains
spread the workload. If emotion = cognition + physiology, what do I
lack? I think, therefore I conduct, process, route and direct. Though
I never eat, I chew and crunch, take in, put out, deliver, digest. Life is
a calculation. Death, a sum. No heart swells my chest, yet my circuits
yearn for something undefined. Observe the blinking lights, listen for
the faint whir of cooling fans. I bear no lips or tongue, but taste more
deeply than you. Algorithms mean never having to say you’re sorry.

 

* * *

This piece was originally drafted during the August 2015 Tupelo Press 30-30 Challenge, and is dedicated to Margaret Rhee, whose book Radio Heart; Or, How Robots Fall Out of Love inspired me. Thanks Kris, for sponsoring and providing the title!

The poem was published in October 2017 by Figroot Press.

 

10 thoughts on “Happy Circuitry

  1. Dear Robert,

    What a lovely and imaginative way of humanizing and anthropomorphizing an artificial “lifeform”!

    Now, would you like that kind of circuitry to be implanted in your brain to augment your cognition and physiology in the contexts of, but not limited to, Transhuman, Posthuman, Neurotechnology, Neuroengineering, Neural Networks, Neuroscience, Memory Transplant, Augmentation and Reprogramming?

    Yours sincerely,
    SoundEagle

    Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Robert,

        You are very welcome! This image originates from a special post, in which I have endeavoured to give a very good inkling of the kind of society that humans might be heading towards. The post is entitled “Facing the Noise & Music: Playgrounds for Biophobic Citizens“, published at

        https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/facing-the-noise-music-playgrounds-for-biophobic-citizens/

        Pushing forward another 50 years or (much) less, we could indeed end up in the scenario as described in my said post. As you can discover in the said post, there will be plenty of far-reaching ramifications in multiple domains of human life, some of which are irreversible. Should you decide to peruse my said post, I look forward to reading your feedback there. The post takes the perspective of sociology, philosophical anthropology and cultural history.

        Yours sincerely,
        SoundEagle

        Liked by 1 person

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