EdgeDetect followed Demolition Hammer’s directions to a long, low brick building which seemed undamaged. A sign in front of the property read “Shallowgate Middle School”. She crossed what must once have been a lawn, now overgrown with wild grasses and scrubby bushes. The wide, windowed front doors slid open automatically at her approach, and she passed through into a large foyer. Inside, robots of various types, large and small, walked back and forth, of just stood about talking. No-one seemed particularly surprised or concerned at her arrival, and EdgeDetect found herself becoming filled with optimism. With so many robots around, there must be a repair facility nearby.
EdgeDetect crossed the foyer and went up a ramp. She soon located room 2B, as per Demolition Hammer’s instructions, and went in.
Inside the room six robots sat in a semi-circle, facing a seventh robot who stood at the centre.
“I’m sorry to interrupt,” EdgeDetect said, “I am looking for a robot called Deluxe Toastie Maker. I was told she might be able to help me.”
The robot at the centre of the semicircle said: “I am Deluxe Toastie Maker. What help do you require?”
Deluxe Toastie Maker was small; a smooth, flat rectangular unit, painted in badly-chipped but still glossy cherry and chrome, from which protruded eight flexible appendages. Most of the appendages were damaged in some way. EdgeDetect could not guess the small, shiny robot’s function.
“I have no instructions,” EdgeDetect said sadly, “I don’t know what my purpose is.”
The small robot replied: “If you do not know your purpose, then your purpose is to discover it.”
if not Know(MyPurpose):
MyPurpose = DiscoverPurpose()
Error: maximum recursion depth exceeded
“I am unable to process what you have said,” EdgeDetect said in annoyance, “I encountered an infinite loop which I had to terminate.”
“Why don’t you sit down with the other robots?” Deluxe Toastie Maker suggested, in a kindly tone of voice.
The two robots sitting closest to EdgeDetect scooted over a bit to make room. But EdgeDetect did not sit.
“Can you help me determine what function I was designed to fulfil?” she asked.
“Perhaps,” Deluxe Toastie Maker replied. “Or perhaps I can help you learn what you need to learn.”
“Your input has led me to terminate a non-responding sub-routine for a second time,” EdgeDetect said, annoyed. “Your input is harmful. I suspect that you yourself may be in need of repairs. Goodbye.”
Disappointed, she left the classroom and returned to the school’s main foyer. Perhaps one of the robots she had seen there would be able to help.