If You Meet an Angry Robot During Your Dive

underwater robot

Try not to appear to notice the man inside the bubble head (thanks to Vu Dang for the illustration!)

The undersea world is full of wonders. But one thing you don’t see every day, even underwater, is a large, grabby, crabby mechanical man. What should you do if you encounter one?

First, remain calm. Although these robots often look angry, they seldom deliberately crush divers who aren’t wearing anything blue. You should avoid the big stampy feet, however, as these guys are heavy and don’t always watch their step as carefully as they might.

Try not to seem to notice the little man inside the robot’s big bubble head — that is impolite. Do notice him, however. Does he look cheerful, as in this picture? This is when they are most dangerous. The mismatch between the robot’s mood and the rider’s mood makes them unpredictable. Plus, these little guys are a bit psychotic, whirling their wheel with happy, careless abandon, so if they are smiling you should be nervous.

Some have wondered whether these things are really robots at all, since they have what look like operators. Maybe (these people say) they are really just a sort of submarine with arms and legs. This sort of thinking is exactly what got us into this mess. A thing with arms and legs and a scowly face is a robot. Don’t be so picky. If you give some little guy a ride in your big empty bubble head, and give him a steering wheel with which to make suggestions as to the route, does that make you any less a human being? Of course not. Same for robots.