Local Robots

What robots have you interacted with recently? Ever? What are your local robots?

I’ve been talking to people and looking at robots a lot lately, when most people talk about robots they talk about they are thinking of Asimo.

Generic robot drawing

Not your local robot.

 

Your local robots might include

  • Vending machines
  • Roombas
  • Drink vending
  • Car washes
  • ATMs
  • Redbox
  • Self-checkout
  • Which did I forget?

It really seems like once we get used to a robot we call it something else and just assume it is part of our life and always will be. We forget that it is fancy. (Hello cars, nice to see you.) We forget we live in the future. That we live in a world where things that seem like magic happen all the time.

We sort of find those things fading into the background. This will continue to happen into the future too. In 10 years will people even think about the fact that they get into cars that drive themselves around?

I’ve been thinking about the Wonder as a subgenre idea from Writing Excuses (entirely worth a listen). We (humans) loose wonder really fast. I went to the grocery store this morning and used the self-checkout. The regular checkout is sort of magical enough. You wave a bunch of stripes of black over a laser and it tells you how much it costs, tells the store all kinds of information like when it was bought and should they order more. When you are done, you pass a tiny little magnetic strip and the store calls your bank and takes money from your account. And now I can do all that without talking to a person? Bag my groceries and be on my way quickly? (Yes I’m an introvert, was that unclear?) But it doesn’t even seem fancy. We want the self-checkout to always get things right, the roomba isn’t good enough if it had to go back to recharge before finishing the job of robot maiding. Our fancy robots are incredible.

You go to the store through a door that magically knows when you are in front of it an opens for you. You get produce that comes from a really long place away. The produce mister automatically kicks on and off. The self check out. So many things we don’t notice.

Self driving cars, space ships, aliens, all of these can be dull, boring.

(Also this sort of unintentionally leads into my flash fiction piece that comes out on Friday. Tune in on Friday for that!)

4 Comments

  1. Elizabeth

    I work in manufacturing, and for our parts with the tightest tolerances, humans load the raw materials on one side and take the finished goods off the end of the line. I was impressed when we first installed them. Now, they’re fixtures.

    Reply
    1. Mariah Avix

      Great example. It is really amazing how quickly we become accustomed to things that appear fantastic.

      Reply
  2. Johanna Reller

    I absolutely love the self checkout! Also, I work in healthcare and within the last year our hospital has bought robot to assist with surgery. This purchase is huge not just to improve patient outcomes but also to recruit and retain more surgeons as in medical school teaching and performing robot assisted surgery is the standard of practice now.

    Reply
    1. Mariah Avix

      Medicine is a great example of this. Those robots at your local pharmacy that take your blood pressure no one even thinks about. Using it as a way to recruit surgeons is fascinating.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: