The other day I was drawn into a discussion on Google Plus (a.k.a. “Facebook with Strangers”) about the future of Artificial Intelligence, or rather, that’s what I thought the discussion was going to be about, but the comments were instead determined by the title of the post: “Why I,Robot should never become a reality“. Most of the comments boiled down to the idea that “If the future were like I’ Robot, would it really be like I, Robot?”. Pointless.
But it got me thinking about personal robots as commodity, and whether or not they would ever become as widespread as that movie and book suggest. Would they be like cars, or smart-phones – fairly uniquitous and eventually essential? At first I imagine they would be quite expensive, owned mainly by the top one percent, but for what purpose? These people already have servants and maids and gardeners and other lackeys. Why would they need a personal robot? Why would anyone need one? To do the laundry? Dishes? Shopping? So that instead of being burdened with these chores, you could do other stuff instead? Like watch more TV? Cars have a great utility, especially since they spawned suburban sprawl in the wake of their popularity. Smart-phones are also useful – phones and internet together! But personal robots? What’s the general use case?
Personally, I don’t think I’ll want one. What do you think?