Waste Your Time Reading About Time-Wasting Robots

Posted on April 26, 2011

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kramnik-chess-robot

Read aloud in an ominous voice:

The time-wasting robot invasion is at hand.

First we were told robots would be our servants and make modern living easier, allowing humans more free time for recreation and family.

And how did we spend this free time?  I spent it watching TV and movies about people recreating and spending time with their families.

But some nerds spent their free time in the basement building more robots who weren’t content to sweep and clean and suffer my verbal abuse, but they wanted our assembly line jobs as well.

Increasingly humans found themselves competing for the same jobs, requiring them to work longer and longer hours in order to maintain the same standard of living.  What happened to the precious free time we were promised by the robot revolutionaries?  That time now belongs to the robots because nerds are building robots that can waste time even more efficiently than humans.

When did you last have time to solve a Rubik’s Cube?  Well, this robot has free time to solve a Rubik’s Cube every 12 seconds.

I watched the YouTube clip and the robot did not remove the stickers.

When did you last have time to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a professional baseball game?  Well, this robot had free time to do it last week.

Hey ump, check his circuit board for sandpaper and Vaseline!

There are chess robots, dancing robots, Tetris-playing robots, and that Watson robot who beat all the best Jeopardy nerds.  Turnabout is fair play, nerds!

But the robots won’t be content with our puzzles and game shows.  Soon they’ll be gazing at our sunsets more meaningfully, starting and not finishing DIY projects with more frequency, and commenting on the change in weather with more banality.  The time of the human time-waster has passed.

To test my theory I’ve created a TV-watching robot to catch up on all the TV I haven’t had time to watch.  I call him the Philo T-2000:

Disclaimer: My wife says this is not a real robot.
Disclaimer: Disclaimer: My wife is not an engineer and is not qualified to classify what is and what is not a robot.
Disclaimer: Disclaimer: Disclaimer: My wife is not an engineer, but is in fact a librarian, and she brought home books about robots filled with words I didn’t understand like arduino board, flyback diode, and science.  I searched the glossary but found none of my robot’s parts like thermometer, tape, glue, or bucket.
Disclaimer: Disclaimer: Disclaimer: Disclaimer: My wife is not as supportive as I would like.

After four years, I’ve yet to see an episode of Mad Men, despite everyone’s recommendation.  The Philo T-2000 made short work of all four seasons in less than two days.  It won’t be long before television networks create a mass army of robotic TV watchers who can commit to 24 hours a day of programming without the distractions of hunger, bathroom breaks, or guilt.  I repeat, the time of the human time-waster has passed.

An earlier, evil prototype: Philo T-1000.

Am I placing too much blame on robots?  It’s hard to say for sure, but we’ll know in a few years when someone builds a robot that blames robots more effectively than humans blame robots.

What time-wasting tasks would Philo T-2000 do at your home?

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Posted in: Columns