The Suitcase Lady


October 7, 2014, 9:31 pm

Robots are a hot topic at the moment. Reports  heralding the incredible advances in robotics are popping up all over the various media.

The word robot was introduced into the English language by the Czech author and playwright, Karel Capek, in his 1920 hit play R.U.R. or Rossum’s Universal Robots. “Robota” was an old Slavic word, referring to work without pay that peasants had to do two or three days a week on the lands of noblemen.

R.U.R. tells the story of a company using the latest scientific advances to mass produce workers who had everything but a soul. These robot workers were to do the jobs humans did not want. Inevitably, the robots rebel and turn against their human creators, a scenario akin to the famous “I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that” line when the computer takes over in the movie, “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

Modern definitions of the word robot vary. “An automatic device that performs functions normally ascribed to humans or a machine in the form of a human,” is Webster’s entry. The British Department of Labor declares a robot to be, “a reprogrammable manipulator device.”

I don’t think we are at risk of assault from out of control bots. The real danger appears to be in becoming one.

Chips can now be implanted in humans to automatically dispense medications. It’s not far fetched to assume that the next advance could be implants to control mood and behavior or nanobots to augment our immune systems. Since many people cannot read maps, personal GPS implants might be the thing of the future as well.

Personally, I don’t think being a robot would be any fun. As a child, I longed to be a grown up so I could control my own life. My parents were wonderful people, but they did tell me when I had to go to bed, force cod liver oil down my throat, pick out the clothes I wore and the food I ate. I’ve never regretted becoming an independent adult.

Life can be made easier through human robotic devices to the point where it no longer qualifies as a life. Beware of the bots. They’re coming to get us…..literally.

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