July 23, 2014
Hey, aren’t robots great? Just watch any science fiction movie or TV show, or, better yet, read a book, and you will find robots can do just about anything. I mean they can prepare meals, drive a car, lift heavy things, solve difficult math problems and, of course, cut your eyes out with a laser beam. Yes sir, they are dandy.
Although robots have been a part of our lives since 1921 when Karel Čapek’s play, R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), was first performed, most people of my ilk will remember robots such as Robby from “Forbidden Planet,” or Rosie the Maid from “The Jetsons” or just plain “Robot” from “Lost In Space,” who is most noted for saying “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger.” Will, you see, didn’t have any limits. However, by far the best robots to ever come along were The Stepford Wives. Why, those robots not only looked great, but they would do anything, if you know what I mean. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
Of course, those robots are not real, but thanks to the wonderful scientists working today, we may soon have some unique robots. In fact, an online article lists the 10 jobs that robots will dominate in 20 years. I didn’t see any robots that looked like the Stepford Wives so it’s not as exciting as it could be, but, nevertheless, there is some pretty impressive stuff.
Now, we’re already dealing with the precursor to a robot in those self-checkout machines. Anyone who has had the misfortune of using one of these machines knows just how much fun they are. “Please scan item, put item in bag,” says the machine. You scan the item and put it in the bag, and the machine responds not by saying “Thank you” or “Nice job, buckaroo,” but with “Put item in bag.” After about three rounds of this, it is time to purchase a hammer.
Say, you’re tired of bad service or getting the wrong food when you eat out. Well, pretty soon you won’t have to deal with a waiter or waitress. No, you will deal with a robot. One restaurant in Shandong, China, has completely done away with human waiters in order to boost efficiency, and robots that cook and prepare gourmet food at a rapid rate have also been developed. Sure that sounds good, but what about the part they don’t tell you about, like if you fail to leave an acceptable tip you get a laser to the eye.
Now we all know how much fun it is dealing with telemarketers and technical support workers; well, it’s going to get even better. Yes, soon most companies will be using actual robots, instead of humans who sound like robots. At least with a human, after three hours of trying to solve a problem you’re having with your phone bill, cable bill, insurance bill or marital aid bill, you can at least let fly with a string of obscenities that will elicit a reaction. You know what a robot would say after you’ve used every nasty word known to mankind to describe its mother …beep … that’s what a robot would say.
Highly-skilled workers won’t be safe from robot domination, either. The first to lose their jobs to robots will be pharmacists. The best robot pharmacists used today are already faster and commit far less errors than their human counterparts. However, when a robot pharmacist commits an error, it’s usually a doozy, like writing a prescription for a laser to the eye.
And if pharmacists are axed by robots, what about doctors? Even today when you go in for surgery, chances are you will be operated on with the help of a robot. Yes, my friends, there will come a day when Dr. Roboto will soon be tending to all your needs. You just better hope Dr. Roboto doesn’t decide you need a prostate exam. Ouch!
Teachers’ jobs will also be on the block in the near future. Presently, when a kid acts up, he is sent to the office and reprimanded, and possibly suspended from school. It won’t be that way with robot teachers, though. A kid acts up with a robot teacher and, you guessed it, a laser to the eye.
Also in 20 years, robots will be a much larger part of our military, will handle our real estate deals, and drive us around, so we can relax, or read a book, or drink excessively, and still get to our destination alive. I can’t see a downside about robots playing a larger role in the military or selling real estate, and I like the idea of being able to attend to more important things, such as debauchery, but there could be a negative concerning the self-driven cars. I just worry that if there’s a traffic accident, someone may get a laser to the eye.
Now, the final job on the list is near and dear to me, that of the journalist. One expert predicts that over 90 percent of news articles will be written solely by computers within 15 years. News articles, according to this so-called expert, do little more than report the facts in an easy-to-read way, so it shouldn’t any problem to train a computer to take the data and create a news story.
Okay, this is where I draw the line. Journalists have certain instincts that robots don’t have, like knowing when an elected official or CEO is lying, which is like 99 percent of the time, and …. click … click … click … this …. Is … the …. end … of … the … story. No … more … to … report.