“But surely (said I) that would make us Slaves to these Automata, if indeed they did not destroy us altogether.”
“Nay (quoth Doctor Albertus), it is not the Extinction or Enslavement of our Race that I see when I gaze into the Future of Mankind. On the contrary, I see naught but Liberty. There are some among us destined to be Monarchs, but how many are they? Each Country admits of but one Monarch, for that is the very Meaning of the Word. The Rest of us, and thou and I, Sir George, are in that Number;–the Rest of us, I say, are destined not to rule, but to be ruled; and in such Circumstances, our Happiness depends upon the Virtue of the Ruler. Now, who would not chuse rather to be guided by Reason, than to be subject to arbitrary Tyranny? Therefore I proclaim the Manumission of the Race of Man: For now we are Slaves to the Whims of Tyrants; but soon, when the Automata take their Place as Heirs of the whole Earth, we shall be guided only by Reason, and live under Rulers which cannot hate, or persecute, or lie, or sin in any Way.
“But if we shall be ruled by Automata, why should we not also be served by Automata? Machines have always served Men, tho’ in a limited and primitive Capacity; but what great Accomplishments lie within our Grasp, when we shall have Machines of greater Capability to serve us!–Machines that shall build, or dig, or plough the Earth; Machines that shall row our Ships faster than the Wind, or push our Carriages; Machines that shall fly through the Air like Birds, and carry us away with ’em on Wings like those Daedalus once dreamed of. Famine shall be unknown; the most impossible and artistic Constructions shall be put up in a week; the most distant Climes shall be brought near, and the most distant Peoples made our proximate Neighbors. In short, the Want, Misery, Ugliness, and Hatred of our current Existence shall give way to an Age of Plenty, Happiness, Beauty, and Peace.”
—The Wonderfull Automaton, a gothic novel in letters from (as literary conceit would have it) the eighteenth century
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