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Surfers' Paradise

WillsLets look into the future together, shall we?

No, not quite as far as the Jesus-coming-down-in-clouds-of-glory future (by the way, I've done the sums and that'll be on 13th July 2488, so no need to look busy yet). I was thinking more of the robots-turn-on-their-human-masters-and-begin-to-eat-them future - say, in about a fortnight.1

Unlikely as it may seem in an uncertain world, we do already know the name of humankind's arch-nemesis-in-waiting: it's the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot or, appropriately enough, EATRâ„¢ (patent pending). In case you've not genned up on the little chaps, an EATR 'will be able to perform long-range, long-endurance missions without the need for manual or conventional re-fueling ... the system obtains its energy by foraging ... it can find, ingest, and extract energy from biomass in the environment.'

That's the good news. The bad news is that you and I, my friend, are biomass. Not perhaps how we are described in Genesis and, as biomass goes, we're pretty darned good looking, but when EATR discovers it needs to re-fuel to carry out its long-endurance mission (the [insert manic robot voice of your choice here] wiping of all human life from the face of the earth), it will make no distinction between you and your lardy good-for-nothing neighbour.

In a life-imitating-a-trashy-novel masterstroke, the EATRs are being co-developed by a company named Cyclone Power Technologies and an arms manufacturer called Robotic Technology Inc. (find them at in an innocuous-sounding Phase II Small Business Innovation Research Project funded by everyone's best friend, the US State Department of Defense (their second 's', not mine). So, nothing to set the alarm bells ringing there.

Cyclone has issued a press release to allay everyone's fears, claiming, 'This robot is strictly vegetarian.' The company's chief executive officer, Harry Schoell, even went on to say, 'We completely understand the public's concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population, but that is not our mission.' Sighs of relief all round. But take another look at the accompanying photo. Yes, that's right, he made the statement while sitting in a big black swivel chair and stroking a long-haired albino cat. We're doomed.

It doesn't say so specifically in Revelation but you can take it on good authority that when Jesus does come down in clouds of glory, his first words will be, 'Hello? Is there anyone there?'

1 At time of going to press. Apologies if you're reading this after the robot uprising has taken place. Remember - they can't climb stairs.