ME 340 Robot Competition, Robots battle

Robots battle during the ME340 robot competition in the Thomas Building on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.

Editor’s Note: It’s the editorial opinion of The Daily Collegian that Braden doesn't seem to understand how Packback works.

Last week, after rolling up late to class, I sat down at a desk so small it must’ve been stolen from a kindergarten class, so I could listen to the professor go over the syllabus.

After being in college for so long, I knew what to expect for class requirements: the homework assignments I’d forget to do and the final essay I’d wait until the day it was due to write — all the usual suspects.

But, then an old enemy reappeared, a shadow I thought I’d left behind in freshman year, a name whose utterance causes even the rocks themselves to shutter: Packback.

(Editor’s Note: dun dun duuunnn.)

For the innocent and uninitiated, Packback is a discussion forum service that some classes at Penn State use. The wild part about Packback is that a human doesn’t grade your discussion post, a robot does.

This is the beginning of the end; the robot revolution has begun.

They’re all around us, scheming to take away our lives. What’s next? Robots teaching classes? Robots taking classes? Robots skipping classes? Where does the madness end?

Plus, Packback costs like $46. I don’t actually know if that’s the exact price, but I’m too lazy to look it up, so let’s just say it's $46.

Why do I have to be the one to pay these robots?! Don’t I already pay tuition? Why do I have to give “mucho dinero” to Packback?

Robots don’t need money. I need money.

Penn State has the money to build new football facilities every month, but it can’t pay for Packback?

I will not give in to these robots and their curiosity point demands. I will not go gentle into that good night.

I curse, curse the fading of the light. The robots can’t win. The robots won’t win.

The hour is now, and humanity needs to rally against the robots. Hold fast to one another as we face this mechanical menace. We need to write Packback posts that are so incomprehensible that the mainframe has to shut down.

Humanity’s greatest gift is its ability to create random nonsense where it’s necessary.

As advanced as these robots' computational brains are, they only understand cold logic. They can’t handle emotions or loneliness. They can never love. That’s how we will beat them.

Curiosity Points: 44

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Braden Dyreson is a columnist, podcaster, and videographer for The Daily Collegian. He is a senior majoring in philosophy, classics and ancient Mediterranean studies and film. He is allegedly the winner of People magazine's 2022 "Sexist Man Alive".