On Tuesday morning, shortly after the polls opened in New Hampshire, Marco Rubio was chased down by the demographic most excited about the potential of his campaign: Hordes of robots eager to elect one of their own for the first time.
The Florida senator ignored them, perhaps alarmed by the fact that they appeared to be a far less advanced model than himself, built of cardboard instead of talking points.
Rubio needn’t be alarmed by the fact that Chris Christie revealed his secret during this weekend’s debate. He is not the first machine with a yearning to be president. And, if Zoltan Istvan has his way, he will not be the last. Here is a list of the greatest alleged robots to ever yearn for the White House. None of them has won the White House — yet.
6. Hillary Clinton
The former Secretary of State freely admitted that she’s "really not even a human being" during a podcast interview with BuzzFeed last year. "I was constructed in a garage in Palo Alto a very long time ago," she revealed. "People think that, you know, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, they created it. Oh no. I mean, a man whose name shall remain nameless created me in his garage. … I thought he threw away the plans, at least that's what he told me when he programmed me — that there would be no more. I’ve seen more people that kind of don’t sweat, and other things, that make me think maybe they are part of the new race that he created: the robot race. … But you have to cut this, you can’t tell anybody this. I don’t want anybody to know this."
She may have just been joking around when asked about why she doesn’t sweat, which is why she ranks so low.
5. John McCain
The Arizona senator was able to hide his mechanical inclinations for most of his career — until he was driven to reveal himself by the combined powers of a siren song and Jamie Foxx.
No mere mortal could dance the robot so convincingly.
4. Marco Rubio
Marco still has much to learn. In order to defeat all humans, those with artificial intelligence have to work together. Instead, Rubio and his supporters tried to drive away the robots who attempted to greet him on Tuesday. Maybe we just need to dispel once and for all with this fiction that Marco Rubio doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing.
You can’t really blame him — all of the robots were programmed by American Bridge, a super PAC determined to make sure a Republican isn’t elected this year.
On the other hand, Rubio’s robot credentials are still being questioned. Repeating talking points is something that all politicians do — although they don’t always get caught doing it in such an embarrassing way. Maybe we just need to dispel once and for all with this fiction that Marco Rubio doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing.
On the other hand, he might want to clear up this issue soon — Americans are more afraid of robots than they are of loneliness or death. On the other hand, maybe we need to stop pretending that Marco Rubio doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing.
3. Muppet Politician
During Season 1 of The Muppet Show, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker revealed their own lab-made robot politician. Because he was the creation of Dr. Honeydew and Beaker, he never managed to run for office, because he, like many of the robot politicians who would follow in his footsteps, exploded mere minutes after being introduced to the public.
However, the pair may have finally succeeded in getting their machine elected, even if it took decades, if David Cameron is to be believed. The British prime minister called Labour Party leader Ed Miliband a "muppet" a few years ago — not long after his critics started accusing him of robotic tendencies.
He appears to be the same model as Rubio.
2. Al Gore
Sometimes politicians get labeled robotic not for the substance of their speech but the tone of it. Former vice president Al Gore is a textbook example. One voter told the Washington Post in 1999, during Gore's bid for the presidency, "He starts to speak and my ears shut down. He's like a robot. He doesn't have any flow to his voice. … If he's talking to world leaders or even to the public and we all fall asleep, that's not good. It's like they put a cassette tape on his back."
Gore did nothing to dispel this belief. In fact, he reveled in his boringness, as his performance of the Macarena at the 1996 Democratic National Convention showed. However, robots do not excel at fun, as the AP’s description of Gore’s dance makes clear: "The vice president's deadpan rendition of the spicy Latin dance hit, where he stared motionless at the crowd, evoked a roar of laughter from convention delegates Wednesday night."
Apparently someone tried to teach him how to do the dance, which went into the witness protection program after the end of the '90s. However, according to Hillary Clinton, it didn’t work. "Al just stood there and looked straight ahead."
1. Mitt Romney
This particular failed presidential candidate is the ambassador for all processors trying to learn to love — or get into politics. He’s been accused of falling into the uncanny valley, and his laugh has been described as sounding "like Groucho Marx mated with a TomTom GPS." The fact that he is impervious to human pain means that he can iron a tux without even taking it off. Fox News’s Greg Gutfield said Romney’s "flaws are robotic malfunction that prevents him from seeing words beyond their basic utility, like Robby the Robot from Lost in Space, he sees no emotional import in his phrasing, so even when he's right, he sounds wrong." In an article titled "Building a Better Mitt Romney-Bot," Robert Draper said that the former governor’s campaign took "a smart and highly qualified but largely colorless candidate and made him exquisitely one-dimensional: All-Business Man, the world’s most boring superhero."
America has yet to find a robot that passes the Turing Test — a mechanical politician so convincing that their roboticness fails to deter from their policies or personality. But who knows, maybe Rubio will get an upgrade by the end of the primary.