One of my readers, Mike, has urged me to get off the “AI/robots fixation. I’m thinking about it. I find it difficult to ignore all the new robotic developments that are announced every week—all of them to great applause and back-slapping by the technology industry. Ah, robots—so much better than people. This adulation and puzzles me, as does the general lack of concern about the impact of these devices on the world economy.
Who am I to worry? Well, as a futurist, I find it natural to look far out and anticipate the consequences of trends. This seems a worthwhile endeavor, if one that is often not appreciated by people more focused on quarterly earnings.
Mental Robot Wish List
In thinking about Mike’s request, however, I realized that I have a mental wish list of automation devices I would like to have for my own use. Some are robots, some are appliances, some are drones. All would make my life even easier and more hassle-free than it already is.
- Shopping Cart Robots: These devices, something like a Roomba® with arms, would scurry around supermarket parking lots returning carts to the corral or to the front of the store, whichever is closer. These crab-like devices would save me the few simple steps required to return the carts myself, especially when it’s raining or snowing.
Teenage boys would no longer have to do the actual work of pushing long rows of shopping carts from the corrals back to the store. They could go back to the muscle-free contemplation of a screen. Plus I have read that the real test of a person’s character is (1) how you treat other people; (2) what you do with your shopping cart when you’re done with it. Whew, that’s heavy, dude. An SCR would make shopping for groceries a character-free experience.
- Citrus Zester Appliance: This device would sit on my kitchen counter and zest the skins of oranges, lemons and limes for baking purposes. Because nothing is more tedious than zesting citrus fruits with a microplane. Plus, zesting aggravates the arthritis in my hands. I could always stop baking anything that requires zesting, of course, but where’s the fun in that?
- Sasquatch Robot: I envision this as a large drone equipped with an infrared camera. It would fly above remote and inaccessible mountains in the Pacific Northwest searching for and recording the heat signatures of any creature that could be a Sasquatch. Why? Just because I’m curious.
Given that so many men want to hunt and kill them, it’s no wonder they stay far away from humans but I would still like to know for sure. Wouldn’t you?
- Book Return Robot: Another drone, this one would run books back to the library. Any time I needed to return a book but couldn’t find the time to drive to the library, I would order up a BRR on my smartphone like a flying Uber. The drone would land, I would put the book in a container, and the drone would fly it back to the library. The BRR would act like a carrier pigeon with serious talons.
- Hired Man Robot: This yard-work assistant would help me with my project of rebuilding the stone wall behind my house. The HMR would lift rocks that are to heavy for me to even think about and place them into the spot I indicate on the wall. Then move the rock when I find another place where it fits better. The HMR would do this without arguing or complaining or in any way indicating that it feels aggrieved by the work or my change of mind.I could even rent it out to other women who need someone to do the heavy lifting. The HMR would be programmed to dislike sports and avoid couches.
- Cat Hunting Robot: Mystique, who is a very outdoors cat, usually comes in for dinner and then retires for the night. She tries to stay out as long as she can, though, and often curls up on a chair on the front porch to watch the world go by. Sometimes, though, I can’t find her and she doesn’t respond to the Cat Signal, which is turning on the deck light to let her know it’s time to come home. The CHR would search the neighborhood for Mystique, then grab her and bring her home before a nocturnal hunter could decide she would make a tasty dinner.
Keep Reading About Robots
That’s six but I’m sure I can come up with more. All I have to do is keep reading about the latest trends in the machines replacing people industry, the robotics industry and they will come to me. Given that many of the robots being developed have no commercial value whatsoever, I think my personal robots have a pretty good chance.
What about you? Do you have personal robots wish list? Let me know. Maybe we can start a movement.