“Robots” — A Poem


It starts in telemarketing.


Computers with human-like capabilities

make automated calls to customers,

deliver messages with precise intonation,

use voice recognition to engage in a dialogue.


People can’t always tell

whether they’re talking with a person

or a machine.


It ain’t stopping there.


A day will come

when these devices

will control our governments,

lead our nation.


They will make decisions about natural resources

while turning a blind eye

to the fragility of the environment,

the needs of indigenous communities.


They will close libraries and let go of scientists,

downplaying the value of research, knowledge, data.


They will stand up in the House of Commons

to deliver prescribed answers

with little relevancy to the issue at hand;

then sit, smile,

accept the cheer of their caucus

with a nod of approval,

wait for the next question

to come from the other robot

right across the aisle.


(Editor’s note: poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, examines current events in the Blacklock’s tradition each and every Sunday)

Back to Top