What if robots existed or were designed to be feral and live in the wild?
Robots typically are designed to serve humans and are often humanoid or animalistic. Even the robots that don’t have a “functional” purpose, such as Furbys or Robo-dogs, are at least designed for the entertainment of humans.
What if, however, robots were not designed for servitude but instead to live autonomous, independent lives. These lives could be inspired by the animals around us. These robots could hibernate, migrate, build nests, and even prey on other robots. They could somehow reproduce (perhaps not in the way we understand) and/or evolve through their experiences and environment, and, of course, survival of the fittest.
Feral/wild robots could yield environmental benefits, such as how bees pollinate plants as they collect nectar for honey. On the other hand, they could exist purely for their own purposes, not replacing the role of current carbon-based life forms. Furthermore, could the robots have the ability to be domesticated (once again), with some “species” taking to this more easily than others?
In this vein, here are some short descriptions of possible feral robots:
A water dripper robot (lapis aqua stillantes) sits by a river powering itself from a turbine that sits in the flowing water. It has in its clutches a small stone which has a small dimple in the middle. This dimple has been created by many years of the robot dripping water on to the exact same spot, day in, day out. Once finished with this stone, it will move on to the next. The ground around the river banks is litter with these curious stones, the results of many generations of water drippers.
A coin collector robot (nimiam pecuniam) putters around in search of its circular fixation. Once it finds a penny, cent, centime, etc., it picks it up and stores it in its pouch and moves on. Eventually, the pouch fills up and the robot must return to its underground den and store its horde. The coin collector learns where there is typically an abundance of coins and frequents these areas. It will also try to sneak up on dense sources of coins such as the collection pots or guitar cases of buskers. Occasionally, humans will accidentally or deliberately dig up these dens, finding a small treasure trove.
A grey robohawk (sui Iuris accipiter) glides through the sky, studying the ground, hunting its prey. It spots an unsuspecting water dripper and quickly dives down. Despite the dipper’s attempt to scurry away, the robohawk clamps down and lifts it into the air. The robohawk flies the dripper back to its nest where it subsequently drains the dripper’s battery flat, killing it in the process. It discards the carcass and flies off again, seeking its next victim.