A COLLEGE CHEER, if you will, for good old High Tech, alma mater of one Robot Redford, a four-foot-tall, 175-pound robot who is the scheduled commencement speaker at Anne Arundel Community College's graduation exercise this year. So far, the college is taking a lot of heat for its invitation to this humanoid from Superior Robotics of America, but the bid is out and it has been received (intaken?) as well as accepted. Now, free speech and courtesy dictate that the speaker be permitted to appear and that its monotones be heard, regardless of the message.
Some romantics among the 550 or so graduates insist that they deserve someone who looks more like them, but that kind of discriminatory argument should not prevail at a tolerant institution of higher learning, which is just a fancy way to say data processing. Besides, have these young people ever heard a commencement speech before? Anyone who has heard one will wonder in what sense the introduction of an actual robot in the speaker's role could be considered an innovation at all. Surely robots have been writing those addresses for generations now ("Commencement is a beginning, not an end . . . As you go forth into the world, try never to lose sight of . . . ). And surely Robot R. will be able to match the exhortations and perorations that have been inflicted on defenseless graduates over the ivy- strung decades. Who better to pour on every clich,e known to his flesh-and-blood counterparts?
Besides, this speaker comes highly recommended, having addressed gatherings of top scientists, philosophers and, according to the college, government leaders who, judging from their own rhetorical output, must also have been stealing his stuff for years.
So let the little fella have his day on the program, or vice versa, as AACC prepares to send forth what have to be freer-thinkers than their guest. We say let the chip fall where he may.