Replaced By Robots?
If you’re anything like me, you may be repelled by the seemingly relentless advances being made by robots.
Not that ‘they’ are the ones making the advances of course. I’m not too worried about a potential real-life horror story along the lines of the Terminator films – whereby the human race effectively hands over all control of the planet to robots, who in turn destroy the earth as we know it and seek to terminate all human life.
Not yet anyway.
The other day, my wife was watching the first episode of Kevin McCloud’s Rough Guide to the Future. I was in and out – not paying too much attention – until I realised one of the co-presenters was going to visit a man in Japan, who it transpired, had married a digital toy. There was a video of the wedding ceremony that had cost him around £13,000, where he pledged his love for the digital doll that he was holding in his arms.
Back at his home, she appeared as a hologram. He tried to demonstrate to Alice, the presenter, how the love of his life sang to him but the hologram wasn’t functioning properly.
The man in question identifies as ‘digi-sexual’ – a new one for me.
I was not impressed and there are obvious connections to the ‘already here technology’ of so-called ‘sex robots’ for those who would prefer to be with a non-human.
I only tell you all of this to firstly, reveal that I am not a fan of such technology but then secondly, to make the point that not all technology surrounding robots is all bad.
For, soon after this sequence in the programme, Alice visits a pop-up cafe – also in Japan – where the waiters/waitresses are robots. She ordered her coffee and then a few minutes later, a robot came trundling along a fixed track in the cafe floor and asked her to take her drink from the tray.
If you are able to watch the video that shows the human connection with the robot
you will be amazed and encouraged that this level of technology is able to literally transform human lives.
The reason is because the person operating the robot and speaking to Alice and any other customers in the cafe, is a severely disabled man who spends the vast majority of his time on his bed – unable to do anything else.
Without this robotic technology, he would struggle to connect with anyone at all.
Using highly sensitive, ‘eyesight-monitoring’ software and robotic technology, he is able to function as if he were a normal, able-bodied waiter interacting with customers, taking orders, and delivering them to the customers’ tables.
In stark contrast to the ‘digi-sexual’ technology, I was genuinely impressed and so encouraged that not all robots are mere machines replacing human labour. Some are actually being used to provide employment for a human who would not otherwise be able to work anywhere.
So, in case you may be a bit like me, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.