Fun? Entertaining? Useful? Scary? We’ve come a long way with technology, but have yet to embrace the ‘personal robot’, like we have the ‘personal computer’. It’s coming though. And…closer then you might think. Aldebaran (Nao) and many other companies such as Honda, are moving in to fill this consumer void, and usher in a whole new era in high-tech. Of course, no one I know can afford to drop $16,000.00 on a “toy”, which is pretty much what Nao is. Is probably what Will Smith and Brangalina’s kids will be getting for Christmas! 😛 Regular kids are stuck with $100 versions, covered in fur…that sit on a shelf and respond to pats, and simple phrases. They’re slowly being primed to be the android generation….the way we were primed for computers.
Wasn’t so long ago that computers were only available for business needs. They were designed and customized to perform very specific tasks, and owning one cost about the same as Nao is going for now. A few years ago, laptops were a luxury item in the range of $1500+. The same laptop can be purchased today for $250. Actually more computer, since we’re now dealing in GIG and TERA bytes….not longer megabytes.
Okay, so maybe you won’t have to worry about your kids demanding robots next year, but it will be on all your grandchildren’s lists as an “expected” and highly necessary accouterment to their lifestyle!!! And…your kids (as adults) will be paving the path. Think about everything that’s already leading in that direction…..like interactive home appliances. Fridges that tell you what foods you’re running low on, calculate calories, and lock themselves to help you avoid snacking. Stoves that turn on while you’re at work, and start cooking your dinner. Talking cars, that keep one en route are part of package. Everything linked up through blue tooth technology…to help you lead a more efficient and productive lifestyle. You can install cameras throughout your home, so you can log on and monitor your kids, pets, etc. Or, have an agency keep an eye on things for you. You can turn lights on and off, change television channels, and start dinner….all at the tap of a button. You can turn your car on, from the comfort of your home, or……..turn it off, if someone is driving it that isn’t supposed to be. You can track your children through their cellphones. Or, anyone else for that matter.
Robots are the missing link to really making our lives EASIER, and I see them being market as such. As maids, and errand boys. They’ll move throughout the house picking up dirty clothes, washing, and drying them. RIDF labels placed on every item of clothing, will help your “robotic assistant” know who’s clothes are whos, and which rooms to put them away in. They might not be able to prepare a gourmet meal, but if you have prepared meals in the fridge, you’ll be able to program when to remove them from the fridge, and cook them in the oven. It will be able to set the table, and tell the kids when to eat! In fact….it might be able to take complete care of your children when you’re not around. With built-in camera’s for you, and security agencies to monitor through, built-in security features that signal 911 in an emergency, and maybe even with protective devices….such as stun-guns and laser…lol. You’ll know you’re children are safe and sound. They’ll help them with their homework, tuck them into bed, read them a story, and…….feed the pets! Not to mention that you won’t have to pay them (save the electricity and upgrades). Basically free, live-in assistants that you don’t need an extra bedroom for.
And…ah, the versatility….It’s a personal trainer that guides you through your workouts…an instant know-it-all on any subject. It will take dictation, help you write your memoirs, and keep your journal. It will video tape your entire existence, and that of your family, and….upload it to your blog if you like! 😉 It will keep track of your finances, prepare your tax returns, schedule your dentist appointments. Strap a rocket pack on it’s back, and it can do your shopping! Cut your grass, vacuum your house, answer the phone. Load, unload, and put away the dishes….if it can reach the cupboards. Robots will be available in all shapes and sizes. Always wanted a pet, but didn’t want the full responsibility of one? Allergic? No problem….with a robotic version that won’t die when you ignore it for days or weeks. Lonely? Looking for a life-partner that’s super low-maintenance? They’re already on the assembly line…complete with desired skin-tones, hair, eye color, and shape preferred. Just pick the sex and enter your credit card number. Might not be something you take to meet your parents, but….plenty will be happy to sit at home with and snuggle…not to mention a host of other activities. All right around the corner.
Of course the flip-side is i-robot…..where they’re all in place to turn on humans and force them into lock-down. Or….take over the world, like in the Matrix, where they decide to start using us as batteries to keep themselves powered. Not evil……..just highly logical. 😛 Or, StarTrek….where we are ultimately assimilated into the technology ourselves. Part of the Hive. Either way……resistance is futile!!! Unless we’re hiding out in the woods, and even then….expect regular visits from surveillance drones that fly by, keeping an eye on all us dissidents. Up until now…..technology has been something we choose to carry around and use. That will change without much notice….where we’ll suddenly find that technology is carrying us around, and what that relationship demands from us, and………whether or not our weight is “worthy”. It all starts with some cute, little, talking toys, and cool gadgets.
These dolls have been around for a long time, marketed as blatant sex-dolls, and significant companions. Male versions are available…albeit nowhere near as refined. I saw them pushed at one point to women, with the idea that placing one in the passengers seat of a car…would reduce attacks, and harassment….or offer emotional support after a divorce, having someone to ‘share the bed’ with…for women that aren’t yet comfortable with staying alone. Average prices for a good quality doll run around $5000. There are much cheaper, and much more expensive varieties, and I’m sure…great effort is going into linking up these soft-skinned, flexible, life-size dolls with robotics technology. Um….I think that’s called “Android”. Don’t underestimate the SEVERE effect this will have on humans in general. We get attached to ridiculous, inanimate objects like stuffed animals, pillows, and Christmas ornaments. Draw two dots, and a smiley face on an orange….and given a few days on our desk…..we’ll develop a “relationship” with it!! There are many cultures throughout history (including Mormons)…that omit faces from dolls & toys for some interesting reasons. Some believe that it teaches attachment to material items, that in turn creates “baggage” that distracts from the spiritual world. The other idea is that dolls without faces can’t “feel” anything. So when children throw them around, torture them, and eventually lose them…..they aren’t hurt and sad. Just an example of how we wrap ourselves up in so many, many things.