DANCING QUEEN Once Luis figured out how Humpty was being controlled by its base (whatever that is!), he changed the radio settings of its receiver so it could only receive commands from us. Then Samantha sent pulses through her drumming, as a microphone delivered the sound sequence to the robot. After much random trial and error, she slowly accumulated a menu of commands. This may have seemed like a frivolous activity, but the stakes involved couldn’t be higher. First, we know that Humpty is just one of hundreds or perhaps thousands of robots being commanded by a force that’s been shown to be hostile. If those robots were directed against us en masse, we’d be wiped out in seconds. If, on the other hand, we were able to wrench control of them away from that force we’d stand a chance. Second, that force remains shrouded in mystery. If it intends to harm Earth, our only way of stopping it is by communicating our peaceful intentions. In order to do that, we have to learn to speak to one another. Currently, our only commonality are the pulses that control Humpty.