Ollie's Modern Life
This month, Ollie Peart spies utopia in what is clearly an unhealthy relationship with his robotic vacuum cleaner
Sunday 11 April 2021
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The robots are coming. Actually, they’re already here. There are 2.7 million working robots in the world, according to 2020 stats. That’s four times the population of Luxembourg so, you know, they’re basically their own country.
Robots are so interwoven into society we’re even in relationships with them. ‘Robosexuals’ is a thing; people who have given up on human relationships in favour of something a tad more reliable.
While I don’t intend on fucking my robot hoover anytime soon (never say never), I kind of get it. Before you write me off as a robot shagger or hoover ho, let me explain. Since my robot hoover arrived, I’ve named it, I occasionally chat to it and I thank it on a regular basis. It does something I don’t want to do and it does it without complaining. It deserves to be thanked. And that’s just a black cylindrical thing with no face, no voice, no nothing wheeling around my house. So if you do happen to have an anatomically correct robot you want to partner up to, I get it. I wouldn’t do it, but I get it.
This phenomenon, whatever you want to call it, is the reason I think robots becoming more and more a part of a lives isn’t a futuristic fantasy, but an absolute certainty. Far from being the terminator style cyborg mega killers we see in the movies, robots will be our helpful, never complaining helpers and confidants; mechanised humanitarians with no other purpose in this world but to make our lives more bearable, and do you know what, I can’t wait.
“What about all the jobs we’ll lose?”. You’re right. A mass job cull will happen. I recently saw a trial which used a humanoid robot to deliver a parcel. It emerged from an autonomous delivery van with not a human in sight. But it’s not just the low-skilled workers that will face mass unemployment. In 2019, Nature Medicine published a paper detailing an AI system which matched the diagnostic skills of its human counterparts. Although it may be years before we see Wall-E wheeling himself through a hospital, this technology is only going to improve to the point where it will be better than a human doctor.
They will collect our bins, maintain our parks, clean our windows, cut our hair; they will do everything and they will do it better than us.
So what the hell are we supposed to do? Well, we could start shagging them, and some of us will. Some of us will be involved in designing them and assigning them, but they’ll eventually do that themselves. Instead my advice is to sit back, relax and prepare for the inevitable.
How? A global poll from 2019 found that out of the world’s one billion full time workers, only 15% of them are engaged in their job. That means 85% of them are unhappy at work. That means statistically, you – yes you – reading this are unhappy in your job. There may be moments of happiness, probably around pay day. But the rest of the time you’re unfulfilled and bored. You, more than anyone, need to prepare for the incoming robot army.
To prepare, start doing that thing you’ve always wanted to do. Even if it’s just reading and learning more about it. Start immersing yourself in it if you haven’t already and start preparing yourself for the absolute acres of time you will have to do it.
Nothing is off the table and soon, there will be nothing to hold you back
It could be anything: studying sand, building a rocket, eating every type of crisp there is in the world. Anything. Anything you find interesting. Anything you love. ANYTHING. Nothing is off the table and soon, there will be nothing to hold you back. The robots will be doing the other stuff so you might as well crack on with what you want to do.
Just imagine for a second if we all did that. If we all focused our energy in the things that we wanted to do, rather than the things we had to do, if the restriction of work and bills was lifted to allow us to do this. The things we’d create, the ideas, theories and inventions would be nothing short of incredible. In fact, we’ve already seen this.
The industrial revolution brought innovation after innovation, catapulting us into the modern era. It was fuelled in a large part by free-market capitalism, the shackles of the time were lifted, leading to an explosion in development.
We’re in a different time now of course. We know the limits of capitalism, we know the damaging effects it can have on our planet and people. For many of us it is the very thing holding us back, but the idea is the same. Lift the restraints and development will follow. Only this time, our development won’t be focused on money making, it will be dedicated to lifelong human passions and the results of that will be utterly staggering.
So don’t resist the robot takeover. Go and hug your hoover. It’s the symbol of your future freedom. All hail Sucky - my robot hoover and saviour of humanity.
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