Since time immemorial, Halloween has been a celebration of all the creepy creatures that haunt our collective nightmares: witches, vampires, zombies, the cast of 'Jersey Shore.' This year, however, we at Switched have discovered real life monsters that are more terrifying than any make-believe spooks. We're speaking, of course, about the robots, and their single-minded plan to take over our planet and enslave us all.
A Switched investigation has revealed that their invasion has already begun, and so in the hopes of recruiting our readers to help prevent robot armageddon, we are tracking the metal ones' devilish 12-step plan for world domination. During this year's haunted holiday, while others go door-to-door begging for candy, we urge you to instead be on the lookout for mechanical monstrosities. And remember: the next time you hear something go bump in the night, it may not be a werewolf, but it could be your vacuum cleaner... plotting your demise.
Step 1: They will Swiffer our dust bunnies.
The initial beachhead for the secret robot invasion is the home -- your
home. To learn our customs and habits, the robots will assume the guise of the humble servant, offering to perform thankless, mind-numbing tasks like vacuuming or mopping
. Don't be fooled. They're simply tempering your suspicions while performing recon for their full-scale invasion. We've already seen what happens when one of their ilk gets impatient and goes rogue, unfortunately for this poor man
. Keep your defenses up, and don't be their next victim.
Step 2. They will pluck the low-hanging fruit.
Much like the methodical hunting of a pack of hyenas or wolves, the robots will take aim first at the weak and enfeebled -- you know, like kids and the elderly. Knowing how these two groups are susceptible to the slightest sign of affection, robots have taken the form of irresistibly cute teddy bears
, as well as drastically less appealing forms for lonely and brain-addled seniors
. While you are in no danger yourself (since us regular folk still find them irredeemably repulsive), once these terrorists-as-toys have a grip on little Junior or Great Uncle Joey, it's time to cut them off. Remember, this is about the future of humanity, and sacrifices must be made.
Step 3. They will habla the ingles.
One of the most crucial techniques by which the robots will lull us into complacency and gain our trust is communicating in a common language -- specifically, our
language. While robots haven't yet evolved enough to pass the so-called Turing test
(by fooling a human test subject into thinking that the 'bot is a human), they are already fluent in many of the world's tongues, from English and Japanese to Arabic
, and total communication is inevitable. If a robot wants to chat, brush him off like you would a chatty salesman.
Step 4. They will brainwash the elite and gullible.
Once they become fully acclimated to our world and conquer our seniors and offspring, the robots will train their sights on the so-called future of our society: entitled, lazy co-eds. That, of course, means heading to college -- not to smoke pot and get laid, but to convince our finest academic minds they belong in every lab and dorm room
in the country. Higher education has always been a ready conduit for molding the pliable, open minds of the young. We can see it now: "Don't worry, members of Kappa Alpha Robo. We are just your friendly little dorm-room bots. We'd never
Step 5. They will do killer impressions.
The success of the robot takeover greatly depends on our willingness to accept them as a normal part of our everyday lives. They have already discovered that the quickest way for them to gain that trust is through biomimesis (or, parroting human physicality) and that babies already can be tricked into thinking robots are human.
Thankfully this is still a non-issue with normal adults as most folks (except for the Japanese, apparently) are completely horrified by the results
Step 6. They will become American Idols.
To convince us that their desire is to assimilate rather than infiltrate, robots will make a show of learning and delighting in our arts. Be it singing, dancing
or competing in sports,
they'll flatter us into thinking that their performances are based upon a love for our culture and a need for our approval. For now, it seems we are safe from harm, as the 'bots have yet to sufficiently navigate the Uncanny Valley
, and instead mostly freak people out with their stilted performances. But, just as they will eventually pass the Turing test, in time they'll become the perfect pop stars
, eager to please, manipulate, then destroy.
Step 7. They will rock our socks.
The biggest barrier to human-robot trust is of the intense interpersonal variety. That's right, we're talking inter-species sexual congress. You know, banging 'bots. Thanks to the still immense gorge of the Uncanny Valley, we're largely immune to the purported charms of 'bot booty, although it's certainly not for their lack of trying.
As 'Battlestar Galactica' suggests
, once they look just like us and once humans become accustomed to, uh, robo romance, the downfall is near.
Step 8. They will bring home the bacon.
Having gained our putative trust to handle household chores, the robots will attempt to make inroads in the workplace
. By offering to do backbreaking manual labor that everyone moans about, the metal maniacs will promise to take on dangerous work faster and more efficiently than humans can. A blue-collar backlash will inevitably ensue, but conservative global marketers will identify these complaints as liberal carpetbagging and our warnings will go ignored.
Step 9. They will be fast, and furious.
Now fully and safely established in every aspect of our lives, robots will attempt to sever our most important defense -- the ability to move freely. It won't be easy, as we humans love life behind the wheel, but prototype versions of robotic autos have already been spotted
. Plus, it's not hard to envision a future in which all modes of transport are devoid of humanoid controllers -- or even in which human means of travel are transforming robots
. And thus they will cut off our final means of escape.
Step 10. They will prod us in the soft stuff.
Having won our hearts and minds (metaphorically speaking), they will attempt to take literal control of them, as well. Under the guise of superior "efficiency," robots have already begun pilot medical programs in which they work in tandem with doctors, sometimes performing intricate heart surgery
or fiddling with our prostates
. The goal is to slice humans completely from the equation, leaving human survival completely to the whims of robotic beneficence.
Step 11. They will befriend Germans.
The keystone to total robotic Armageddon is their ability to coerce a large enough group of humans to partner up. You'd think the Japanese would be queuing up to lend (or sacrifice) a hand, but, to be honest, it turns out they mostly just want to be loved
. The robots have instead found their perfect human counterpart among the Germans. Sure enough, these Teutonic tricksters have borrowed a tactic from their Eastern neighbors and begun playing Russian roulette with our lives. Citizens of the world, do we really need to spell out why arming robots with knives is a bad thing
Step 12. They will get medieval on us.
It should be clear by now that the robot strategy for world domination is slow-burn; they're the proverbial tortoise to our hare. We've seen the painfully slow regimen they've undertaken to learn and perfect archery,
and their meager but growing experience with more modern firearms
. But let's not lose track of their more subtle tactics -- such as their ability to beat any one of us into submission, albeit really, really slowly
. When our metal nemeses finally do master our martial arts, then all hope will be lost. And so this Halloween, instead of dressing up as a Spiderman or Sookie (or a Snookie for that matter), why not try to spread the word of the most fearful creature ever to bobble across the earth? The robots are coming, my friends -- will you be prepared?