Maid Runner

Maid Runner

August 11, 2017 robotics 0

Do robot vacuums dream of electric dust bunnies?

These are the things that keep us up at night. And while we’re toiling over keyboards into the wee hours, we wonder, always we wonder. Do chatbots talk in their sleep? Would I know if I was a robot, if I was actually a robot (wait what? I mean…)? There’s no soul-level CAPTCHA to prove I’m not a bot, right? (As if an actual bot couldn’t do basic math or type a nonsense word.) But on to more important things…

So the robot vacuum company Roomba can map the inside of your house because, you know, having Google maps lead the entire world right to your doorstep isn’t enough. Now we all need to know what’s cooking in the interior — and your TVs and microwaves can only collect limited (mostly audio) data. [Video killed the radio star, and then digital killed the video guy, apparently (plus privacy, too).] What we need to be truly happy and free are maps, dammit, more maps! Just think of all the incredible benefits.

For instance, if you happen to forget how to get from your kitchen to the bedroom, you can pull up the RoboMap of your home and have it guide you there with easy step-by-step (literally) instructions. If you’re in a neighbor’s house, you don’t need to ask where the bathroom is: now there’s an app for that! Hey, there’s only so much information we can retain in our brains, so why not outsource the trivial stuff? Plus, people who want to sell us stuff can be more like personal valets if they know everything about us.

And really, in a few years’ time anyway, none of us will be adept enough to manually drive a car, pay a bill, purchase an item, call a friend, type a memo, or anything really — it’ll all be voice-driven, or controlled with a virtual eye blink or imperceptible nod, or maybe a heads-up augmented display that we can swipe across in mid-air. The “internet of things” isn’t going to be operated with gears and levers, and the future of the business model at the core of this is all about you. (You and your low-end carpets.)

Actually, in the grand scheme of things, the state of our decorating decisions and room layouts is relatively low on the list of things to be worried about, when viewed in isolation. As part of the data profile being compiled about you, such intimate information can be used to better target serve you with useless useful products and manipulative cool ads. Soon, the magical marketing elves will even know what you need before you do, thoughtfully controlling managing your life (and finances) for you. Groovy!

Now if only those robo-vacuuming rascals could find missing socks, we’d really be onto something. Let’s face it: reality was exhausting, expensive, inefficient, messy, labor intensive, and pretty boring anyway. Better to have the machines pick up the slack for us, so that we have more time for high-minded artistic pursuits like posting sardonic tweets and binge-watching epic adventure shows. And hey, all those maps might come in handy someday, if we ever need to find our way outside the walls and through the maze.

Until then, may your floors be clean, your homes filled with feng shui, and your profiles accurate. QED


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