An Act of Mechanical Piracy

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"Scotland has long produced some of the world’s best engineers," the detective said.

"Like Switzerland," the inspector commented. "They didn’t have much in the way of natural resources, so they cultivated the skills of their people."

"And these guys were among the best," the detective said. "They could get robots to do virtually anything."

"Like commit acts of piracy," the inspector said sourly. "Didn’t these guys take the Asimovian Oath?"

"Of course they did," the detective said. "But Great Depression II put a heavy strain on social restraints. Nonetheless, the robots didn’t harm anyone, but simply deprived them. Some people even think they’re cute."

"There’s nothing cute about robot pirates," the inspector said, "Disney notwithstanding. But surely these guys knew that they would be caught in the long run."

"They did," the detective said. "But desperate men will accept long-term loss in order to obtain short-term gain."

"Sad really," the inspector said. "Well, at least we got some benefit from the incident. With the experience of actually being pirates encoded into their neural nets the robots will be better able to help us suppress the human version. There’s just one small thing that still bothers me, though."

"Hmm? What’s that?" the detective asked.

With a pained expression on his face, the inspector said, "Did you really have to title your report ‘Aye, Robot’?"

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