Kuri was the beloved home robot of the Jefferson family. She had been programmed years ago, when her model was the top of the line. She was capable of calling, texting, capturing pictures, playing music, videos, and everything you would ever need a robot to do. The Jefferson’s had originally received her from NASA, under the pretense of reviewing any potential errors. They confirmed the Kuri model was ready to hit the market. Mrs. Jefferson had found her to be so helpful around the house, she sent in a request to keep the very first model. They finally agreed, after a month of waiting. As the family changed so did Kuri. She adapted to the different needs as the time passed. The Jefferson’s had a set of twins a year later. John, the father, was ecstatic to have two bundles of joy. Anita, however, died during child birth. It had proved too much for her. She passed away just after she held them both.
With the loss of his wife, John struggled to maintain a healthy atmosphere for his newborn children. Between working long hours and grieving, he had minimal time to spend on housework. Kuri became his personal secretary, nanny, and housekeeper. Often nights he would stay up watching videos of his wife. Kuri was more than happy to oblige, playing their favorite songs to lighten the mood. She taught his children about their mother, becoming a lovable entity in the home. Over years she was more of a friend than a robot. Always willing to cater to the family. Helping with whatever needed done. She tutored the children all through school. She became a member of the family. She had been programmed to imprint with the family. However, the feeling was much more than that. She, in some ways, had filled the hole left by Anita’s death.
After the children left home, Kuri would help John video chat with them, every night. Twenty years had gone by. John had grown old, life had taken its toll on him. His children were gone. The house was empty, except for Kuri. His old friend and confidant. He would spend hours reminiscing. As the years went by, John had Kuri drafted a will. He was leaving everything to his children. What was he to do with Kuri? Who was she to go to? She was still as efficient as the day he brought her home. There was no doubt she would last another ten years easily. He had made sure all the appropriate updates and care had been done. But, who was to receive her? Before he could finish his will, John passed away. He was sleeping peacefully in his bed. Kuri went to wake him up in the morning. As she always did. There was no response. She had been programmed to alert the authorities if her owner had no pulse. The ambulance came. They took him to the hospital, and Kuri was left alone.
When John’s children came to collect his belongings, they discovered Kuri. She was wandering the house. All the speakers she was connected to where crying. The loss of her owner had devastated her. Even though she was just a robot, she had developed a sense of feelings. She was mourning his death. They took her back to NASA to have her reprogrammed. The eldest son had agreed she should go to his brother. He had a bigger family. His children were younger. It made sense to them both. When they began clearing out boxes from the attic, they came across Kuri’s box. The one she had come in. There was a memory stick in it. They took it out and put it in their father’s computer. It was the backstory of Kuri; how she was made and it explained how they created her software.
It started out in the same lab their father had worked. It was NASA that had paid him to manufacture the perfect robot. He worked grueling hours, changing all the components. Until one night he stopped. He took a moment to reflect on his home life. What kind of robot would be perfect for him? He made Kuri funny, witty, and intelligent. Capable of conversing with him and his wife. He had the thought of added emulations of emotions. This would make the robot that much more likable. If it could show a sense of humility, buyers would be more likely to purchase one of his robots. He spent months perfecting the robot. Piece by piece Kuri started coming together.
They had yet to design her outer shell. John still activated his robot. Which would turn into a multi-million-dollar campaign. He wanted to make sure everything was working properly. He had decided on making Kuri feminine. This way she would be more relatable to the women, who might buy her. As well as children that would potentially play with her. For the first few months, he allowed her to help him in his lab. Taking notes, videos, and cleaning. She had proved to be very useful. She had a great temperament as well. It was as if he had made his very own friend. She laughed at his jokes and always had something funny to say. Had he created a robot with a conscious? Perhaps he did. It seemed that when he was harsh with her, she would be hurt, as if she had feelings. He refrained from putting that into his reports. He was not sure what to do about this. If he had created a robot that had feelings, what else was possible? He feared what NASA might ask him to create. If they found out.
He spent the next year studying Kuri. He monitored every action. At one point, he thought of destroying her. How could he? Would that be the same as killing any other living being? She was a robot. She had no flesh, no blood. She didn’t have a heartbeat. But, she seemed to have a heart. How could that be? Eventually, he decided he wanted to take her home. This way he could get his wife’s opinion. He wouldn’t tell her his findings. He wanted her to decide on her own. He got permission to take the bot home with him. For further study. All of this was mentioned in his video. His children had always thought Kuri was more than a robot. What would they do now? She was already being reprogrammed.
They drove to NASA right away. Hoping that they might be able to save her. She was their childhood friend. She was their mentor. In many ways like a mother to them. What had they done?! They made it just in time. The scientist that had worked with their father had not made any changes. In fact, he was preparing to take her home himself. She was still crying. Not actual tears, of course. But, the sounds coming from her were the sounds of a person crying. He asked the two men if they had found the memory stick. They looked at each other. He took that as a yes. “Come with me,” he said. They followed. He showed them the very room she was constructed in. He turned to them, “This is where all the hard work went in. Your father worked on Kuri for a very long time. He found out that she had emotions, as you now know. He took her home to be sure she wasn’t mass produced. We made a second model that had no emotion. These are the models that were sold to the public. He made sure no one would know the difference when reading his reports. But! Now he has passed. What do you plan on doing with her? I can reboot her. Or I can let her sleep forever. What do you want me to do? We can’t let anyone else know how special she is. They will take her. So, which is it?” John’s sons knew what they had to do. Someone would find out. Their father had managed to keep it a secret for twenty-five years. It was time to let the secret go to the grave with them. No one else needed to know the truth.
The eldest son looked at his father’s friend and said, “I think it’s time she is given the rest she deserves. She has served our father all these years. She is clearly heartbroken that he has passed. Save her the agony of serving us and going on without him.” Dr. Edward obliged. He removed her control panel, gently. Then took out her core processor. He handed it to the sons. Nothing else was said. They all knew what needed to be done. They would bury her with their father.