Robot, where art thou?

I was a kid in the 1970s. The computer age was on the horizon. They were going to change the world. Along with computers, another technology promised to change our way of life: robots.

Robots were going to revolutionize our lives. They were going to do everything for us: cook, clean, drive, serve drinks at dinner parties, do yardwork, play chess, offer companionship, change diapers, displace our manufacturing jobs, etc.

Well here we are in 2005. Where are all the robots?

We have one "robot." You've probably seen the commercials on TV. It's called the Roomba. It's a little floor vac that zips around your house and does a mediocre job of sucking bread crumbs off the linoleum. In the commercial, this old guy exclaims, "It's a robot." Maybe to your generation, grampa. Likely story from a generation of people who never successfully programmed a VCR!

This represents 21st century robotics? It's a freggin' disk. A giant Lifesaver on wheels. It runs around the house like a chihuahua trapped under the dogbowl -- slightly amusing, but mostly pathetic.

Where are the arms and legs? Where's the head? Where are the laser-beam eyeballs and jet pack? Where's the vague fear that after a short-circuit in it's programming, it'll kill me in my sleep? This isn't a robot. It's a clearance item from the K-Mart toy aisle!

Does anybody else feel jaded? This is almost 2005. I want my freggin' robots!


Miss Fabulous said...

I think blow up dolls are the closest thing we have to robots.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Hmmm. An insightful point.