Dear Noble Robo-Witness,

On September 9th, USA TODAY contained an odd article by Marc Saltzman:  These robots will do your housework.  You may recall a recent, related post we had on 8/31/20:  Robots Now Appearing As Hotel “Workers”!  Well, this time, those damn robots are invading our homes, rather than our workplaces!

Saltzman opens his article with a not-very-hidden, Robo-sales job:  “Now that society is cautiously opening up ahead of the fall season, the last thing you want to do is more work around the house. Seriously, would you rather scrub your kitchen floors or sip a cocktail with friends on a rooftop patio to toast the end of the weirdest summer on record? . . . . . . .  Fortunately, technology can help, so you can focus on what matters.  From window- and floor-washing robots to autonomous lawn-cutting machines, this may be the year you invest in a domestic device.”

Please observe that while Saltzman is claiming that, “society is cautiously opening up,” he is very uncautiously recommending that, at “the end of the weirdest summer on record,” we start buying a whole bunch of robots to do our housework!  And, if we really think about it, isn’t this foolish “robo-recommendation” simply another example of this being “the weirdest summer on record?”  He follows this up with the weird remark that, “OK, so we’re not talking Rosie the Robot – – the mechanical housekeeper who petered around ‘The Jetsons’ family home in the classic ’60s cartoon – – but you might be surprised what’s out there.”

If you recall, Dear Witness, Rosie the Robot was just a humanoid (“human-like”) robot in a TV cartoon – – NOT a household robot operating in the REAL world!  – – Why?  The obvious reason is that humanoid robots are very dangerous, in that they are basically stating that natural humans with bodies and a soul or spirit, are essentially the same as human-like MACHINES!  Saltzman and other foolhardy technophiles (“abnormal lovers of technology”), nevertheless, are now very busily trying to hoodwink and cleverly seduce us into buying a bunch of domestic robots to do all of the work around our house!  What follows, is a brief description of the various types of partial “Household Rosies” that Saltzman recommends.

ROBO-VACUUM CLEANERS

“Robotic vacuum cleaners make up the biggest selection of home robots.  These circular suckers navigate around your home – – ideal for carpet, tile and wood floors – – and suck up dirt, dust, crumbs and pet hair (and allergens, too).  iRobot’s Roomba family is probably the best known . . . . .”

“You can start the clean in one of four ways: pressing the button on top of the unit, tapping the app, setting a schedule . . ., or using your voice with an Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant speaker (e.g. ‘Ask Roomba to start cleaning’).'”  I find such spoken human directions to a robot, which then responds to your voice, to be an especially terrifying and troublesome development!   I really have to question the wisdom of allowing very naive human beings, who have a brain with Natural Intelligence, to essentially become the same thing as robots, which have a Control Center operating with Artificial Intelligence!   This recent trend of “talking” directly to machines – – as if they were the same as human beings – – is basically setting us up to unconsciously equate robots with human beings!  In the future, will we not be able to destroy such a talking robot, because it has become so much like us?

FLOOR AND WINDOW WASHING ROBOTS

“And what about mopping ‘bots?  The Braava Jet M6 ($399) helps clean your hardwood floors, whether you’re there or not, so your home is kept spotless.  . . . . .  As with many of the Roomba robots, this autonomous mopper uses artificial intelligence to get to know your home’s floor plan and optimize its clean accordingly.”  Well, I, for one, do NOT like the basic idea of a robot with AI “getting to know” my home’s floor plan – – especially when it’s autonomously mopping and spying on my house – – even when I’m not there!

“Also for $449 is a window-washing robot called Winbot X by Ecovacs.  While it might freak you out if you see this thing crawling up your windows, the aptly-named Winbot could lend you a helping hand – – especially when it comes to cleaning hard to reach areas outside of your home.”  So, do we really want to have this creepy robot “crawling up our windows”?  At least the author was honest enough to admit that it might “freak us out”!  – – NO THANKS!

ROBO-LAWN MOWERS

“These waterproof mowers can quietly cut your grass with its electric motor (yes, even at night) and will return on its own to the charging station, power up and then continue mowing.  Anti-theft alarms will prevent anyone from lifting your ‘bot.”  I certainly get the creeps whenever I think about seeing a robot lawn mower going back-and-forth across my lawn, all by itself!  This would especially be true, if I looked out a window and gulped while I saw this Mechanical Monster circling around my yard in the dark, at night!  Couldn’t that even be dangerous, to someone walking across my yard after sunset?

SMART WATER SENSORS

“While not a robot, per se, Flo by Moen Shutoff ($499) might be considered a security system for your home’s water supply.  It’s a smart valve that proactively identifies problems before they become a headache – – such as if a pipe bursts, or if a tap is left running – – and then automatically turns off the water supply before notifying you on an app.”

CONCLUSION

Note that the smart water sensor is supposed to “proactively identify” problems “before they become a headache.”  Well, let us expand this reasoning, and conclude that such household robots will likely promote such future problems as excessive laziness, human obesity, and an eventual “Robo-Take Over” of many household tasks that are better left to us human beings!  If these household robots are widely adopted, however, you can expect them to continually “evolve in place,” becoming more and more sophisticated, until THEIR VERY PRESENCE becomes a real EXISTENTIAL headache, and even a real THREAT to you and your family!

Finally, what about these robots stealing away the jobs of human workers who now mow our lawns, wash our windows, and clean our floors?   What are these often less-fortunate fellow humans (many from other disadvantaged countries) supposed to do for a living, when robots have essentially replaced MOST or ALL of our natural HUMAN LABOR?