JF Ptak Science Books Quick Imaginary Post, Part of the Series on the Museum of Imaginary and Possibly-Impossible Things
This is a review of a Newer Statesman review by S. van Zandt's of "On the Differences between Robots and Humans", #31, February, 2130" by S. Nullman, written for Amazing & Astounding Stories, April 1959. It is an interesting bit that looks at another interesting bit written in 1959 about robotic senses, olfactory issues, and how it raises the issue of "doubt" in 22nd century mathematics.
[Image below: an interesting--and later--poster for a marionette version of Karl Capek's 1921 play Rossum's Universal Robots (RUR), in which the word "robot" originated.]
"Simply put, robots don't stink. Or at least there was once a point where they didn't stink--then they stunk--and they then tried not to stink anymore..."
"Humans on the other hand do stink, if (1) they move or (2) if in not moving they're dying or dead, and then stink by default. #1 can be mediated and remedied if that outcome is favored, though this has not always been the case, and which is also (for the large majority of the human population) of relatively recent invention."
"In the mid-20th century robots became self-aware, and one of the earliest issues in the official robot world was to make themselves more like their "creators", and the first most obvious point of robot-human differentiation was stink. At that point robots could be outfitted to stink but they couldn't themselves tell the difference for some decades until their olfactory capacities were introduced and perfected. It was the "perfected" part that led to more-modern problems. Once the olfactory receptor business was complete, the programs for chemical analysis and the necessary mathematics were quick to follow. It was at that point that the robots developed the capacity for "obsession", and their existences chose stink-determination to be a primary cause for additive states."
"Obsession led to envy, which lead to the study of world history of human stink, and it alienated the robots (at first) to discover that humans could do basically nothing to combat their own odors for most of their history. This was determined by looking at the printed record, and finding that the earliest advertisements for the relief of human odor took place in the earliest part of the 20th century, the whole affair precipitated by the burgeoning middle class and the appearance of expendable labor exchange units known as 'money'."
[Image via Wikicommons]