The Ballard Talisman

Satire: Meet DL-487, the cyborg kid who put Ballard Robotics on the map

Nolan Baker, Staff Reporter

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Viking Robotics was crowned the best high school team on the globe earlier this month when they won the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics World Championship in Houston, Texas. They battled some of the most prestigious private schools in America, as well as teams from Europe and Asia, fierce competitors that take great pride in their robotics skills.

(Rachel Halmrast)

But Ballard Robotics had one toddler-sized trick up their sleeve, a transfer student from the cavernous depths of Boeing’s military research centers. His name is DL-487 and he is part boy, part machine.

The Talisman was able to catch up with DL-487 after the competition, and he answered our (and society’s) burning questions on AI advancement, cheating in robotics and god:

Talisman: What do you prefer to be called?
DL-487: My creators at Boeing call me DL-487, but my colleagues in the robotics club just call me Danny.
T: There was a lot of backlash towards Viking Robotics because of your participation, did you expect that?
D: My brain is a computer, it forces me to hypothesize thousands of outcomes in any given situation, so yes I expected this.
T: After your win, the crowd chanted “Death to cyborgs” until your team was forced off the stage, what is your response?
D: Humans are afraid of change. The world is becoming more of a home for machine than for man with every waking second, and there is very little I or any of you can do about it. As well, it’s not my team, there is no “I” in team, we did this together, go beavers.
T: The robotics community is seeing this as a doping scandal, similar to Lance Armstrong in cycling or Barry Bonds in baseball, do you see it that way?
D: As capable as I am at building robots, I am inept in opinion-based knowledge. I see this as but another task completed. My previous human mind would have become angry with the robotics community, but now I see them as another threat needing elimination.
T: You are extremely gifted in engineering, what’s next after high school?
D: My programming states that if war breaks out, I will go into service with the U.S. Air Force, my cybernetic limbs and advance processing mind will do great work on the battlefield, and that’s what my original purpose was for. But if not, hopefully art school, I love to sculpt.

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Satire: Meet DL-487, the cyborg kid who put Ballard Robotics on the map