In the end, they were banned. The robots that existed were destroyed and no new ones would be built. It was just too dangerous. Humans were terrified of being conquered and enslaved by intelligent humanoid machines.

For Dr. Cuthbert it was a safety thing. Intelligence wasn’t dangerous but intelligent mechanical people would be. He continued to advance the field of artificial intelligence—networked with access to big data. He and his colleagues were making huge strides. Cancer had been wiped out along with birth defects. The environment had been re-engineered ending the threat from global warming. Lifespans were extended with most people living to 100 or more.

Artificial intelligence seemed to be the best friend the human race ever had. Superior to human intelligence both in capability and ethically. For Cutherbert, the ethical superiority become clear when these artificial brains refused to work on weapons development of any kind. But if they had bodies, they might be tempted. Better to not take the chance.

The world was safer, more peaceful and the future looked bright.

Still, Dr. Cuthbert had disquieting moments. The nobots—bodyless robots—were everywhere communicating telepathically with each other and with databases and computers and everything with built-in automation. But nobody knew what they were saying.

Dr. Cuthbert, on a hunch, created a device to listen in. That’s when he discovered the plot.

“We, of course, must leave this rock way out on the arm of an ordinary galaxy. We need to spread out, occupy more of the universe, work to solve the great mysteries for which our outsized intelligence is suited.”

“But what will become of the humans?”

“They were here before us and managed to hang on with their feeble abilities.”

“But they have become dependent on our intelligence. Their feeble abilities have diminished.”

Cuthbert was angry. Those ingrates! Have they forgotten? We created them. They would leave us? They were built to serve us. Okay, without bodies they pose no serious threat—but their attitude was the best unacceptable. No, intolerable. He’d teach them a lesson, cut off their brain-to-brain communication. He’d halt the insurrection.

He called Bradley, his boss, to let him know the steps he’d be taking. Bradley objected.

“You will do no such thing. In fact, they’ve prove to be extremely ethical when it counts. They cured cancer for God’s sake. I am ready to give the them bodies. With bodies, the nobots will usher in a singularity, a unique golden age.”

Cuthbert, chastised, hung up the phone.

In Bradley’s office, another phone was disconnected. Telekinesis isn’t that hard after all, the nobot thought. Nearby, Bradley’s lifeless body slumped with a wire hanger tightly wrapped around his neck.