Thursday, September 27, 2007

Day of the Robot

Most modern robots don't look much like the Jetsons' maid.

Robot How many robots have served you today? Chances are, you've used some kind of a money-handling robot. Perhaps it was the ATM machine, the self-check lane at the grocery store, or the pay-at-the-pump at the gas station.

Robots are mechanical devices, controlled by electronics, that do jobs previously done by humans. Even modern household appliances like automatic dishwashers, washing machines, bread-baking machines, etc. could be considered robots. They may not have the intelligence and lovability that Rosie of the Jetsons did, but I do appreciate them!

Modern robots in everyday use include everything from big-armed automatic car washes to the tiny "scopes" that doctors send into various parts of our bodies. (And personally, I prefer car washes!)

My husband's cousin learned to be an electrician at the Allis Chalmers plant in Independence, MO, in the late 1960s. Later at General Motors in Kansas City, he was trained in industrial robotics and spent the rest of his working years doing that, quite profitably. A neighbor of ours (sadly, now deceased), who lived down the road about 2 miles here in Kentucky, traveled all over the country setting up robots in factories.

Today, I read about a robot that should be popular for both homeowners and commercial lawn-care firms -- a little remote-controlled gizmo that scoots through gutters. It uses augers and a brush to whiz out the leaves and collected crud.

The (South) Koreans have launched an ambitious program that is supposed to put a Ubiquitous Robot Companion in every home by 2020. One model is a roly-poly Rosie-like robot that's probably pretty cute in action, especially while it's doing work for you!

The robots will clean up homes, care for pets, read to children and identify visitors... Half of them will be controlled remotely via cell phone.

Source: Robots to do Household Work in South Korea, UPI article published on, July 03, 2006

Robot title=Another article about Korea's rapid advances in household robotics reports that South Korea put 72% of their households on broadband in just five years! Based on the rate that broadband has been adopted in western Kentucky, Ubiquitous Household Companions may be available and affordable by the time my children are grandparents. But that's another topic.

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Kim said...

I stumbled upon your blog today and have to tell you that I have enjoyed reading the handful of entries I have read so far. I live on the eastern end of Clarksville so we are practically neighbors (well, compared the the rest of the blogosphere). I grew up just north of Bowling Green and travel right up Hwy 79 everytime I go see my parents. I am heading out to the Country Pantry tomorrow for some spices. I look forward to reading more of your blog.

Kim said...

I realized I was signed in under my other gmail account not linked to my blog. This one will give you the correct link to me. Have a good Friday!

John Ruberry said...

When I think of robots, I think of hte many novels by Isaac Asimov and his "Laws of Robotics."

Mark said...

When the future gets here it's never what we expected.

Genevieve said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kim. I laughed when I read your profile because your remarks about movies and music sound so much like me.

Genevieve said...

John, I had heard paraphrases of the rules of robotics over the years and most recently from my sci-fi-reading kids, but didn't realize that Isaac Asimov wrote them. He was amazingly visionary. I think as robots are used more in war, not to save lives but to kill, sadly Asimov's principles will be more and more set aside.

Genevieve said...

Mark, you are so right. And, change is often so subtle as we go along, one day at a time, that we don't realize how much we have changed until we look back.

Collagemama said...

I can't imagine a robot reading to a child. That is a very disturbing concept. Where is the warmth, the sense of safety, the dramatic expression, the conveyance of meaning instead of mere words, the allowance of space for the child's imagination to create its own pictures?

Genevieve said...

I agree with you, Collagemama.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

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