Robot Love

We really could have used an army of talented robots in these days of the novel coronavirus. Some medical procedures could have been performed by units that could be sanitized regularly. Lots of routine cleaning tasks performed by these welcome little helpers would have helped make for shorter shifts and less exposure for human health care workers.

Sheldon Cooper had a virtual presence device on The Big Bang Theory. If we all had one in real life this would be a very helpful thing for all of us, especially if it could drive a car. It could do all our shopping. Imagine the luxury of looking for your toilet paper in as many different locations as necessary without any danger of exposure to the tiny bugs of the day.

A Starship Delivery robot rolls along at Ole Miss, in Oxford, Miss. on Wednesday, January 22, 2020. (Bruce Newman, Oxford Eagle)

In addition, your virtual presence device could have a handy-dandy robot assistant of its own to carry packages, open doors and such. The car might actually drive itself and then these two high tech family members could interface with a robot salesforce in a shop and your two new friends could bring home the bacon. Perhaps several families could share a robot pair, although sharing is not one of our strong points.

We could dine at a restaurant via our virtual presence device, visit with our friends at table and then dine on the takeout our electronic buddies bring home to us. We could be social without getting all germy. We could send our virtual presence devices off to conferences and meet and greets. Selling and buying houses would be biologically safe. And we wouldn’t be bored, because we would be there too, right along with our beloved machines. We might get to like it as much as cats like riding Roombas.

Photo Credits: From Google Image Searches: Tech in Asia, Big Bang, The Oxford Eagle, Ai Fiori, Vac Expert

My Housework Rant (Not Just a Female Thing Anymore)

When I was a young girl living in the bosom of my very big
family, I couldn’t help but notice how frazzled my Mom was. She worked from the
crack of dawn until well after we were all in bed. Sometimes she took a quick
nap with a baby on her shoulder.
There were 3 teenaged girls in the family and one teenaged boy
and then 4 younger children. We did help some in our hapless, lazy,
self-absorbed teenage way. The girls helped with dishes and ironing and we
liked cooking so we often helped with dinner. We were supposed to set the table
each night for dinner, but we often malingered until a parent (usually Dad) got
angry enough to say “never mind, I’ll do it myself”. Our punishment was to
suffer the silent treatment for a while, which could be quite unpleasant.
Babies need endless attention but even teenagers are lots of
work. Everyone had to have a nicely pressed outfit to wear each day. We all had
to have lunches put up for school. We had to get the occasional help with our
homework and there are lots of personal issues to discuss. If you are a parent you
know the drill.
Mom did the housework and Dad did the repair work and the yard
work, although Dad was not afraid to pitch in indoors.
As a young woman watching all this I could see that my Mom fit
that image of women as destined to be “barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen”
quite perfectly. I made up my mind early on that I did not want that.
Along came the Women’s Liberation Movement promising to free
women from at least half of the housework since men and women would now pitch
in and share household tasks. This would allow women to have careers and not
feel tied down by their home and their children. Perhaps women could escape
feeling that semi-brain-dead space that is part of child rearing, at least the
first few years when each child is too young to carry on an intelligent
However, Women’s Lib upset a lot of men. They were not
necessarily ready for housework and child rearing. And while the “new man”
might find himself occasionally barefoot and in the kitchen, he never found
himself pregnant.
I don’t know if families began to unravel as a backlash to
Women’s Lib or for social and economic reasons; probably a mix of causes, but
we started to find that a lot more people were living a single life, both men
and women, sometimes with children, sometimes without. The problem with this
sort of “freedom” is that now both men and women find themselves in charge of
both the indoor work and the outdoor work.
So much of housework is repetitive. Whether you wash and dry
dishes or put them in the dish washer, they still have to be cleaned day after
day, year in and year out. Laundry is repetitive, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning
bathrooms, mopping and on and on. Thank goodness we rarely iron these days. So
how can my Mom, now turning 98, bear to do these tasks one more time. At least
she feels proud of the things she can still do and says that she will feel
useless when she can no longer do these household jobs. I, however would gladly
give them up if I could.
Wouldn’t our world be a much more productive place if we were
freed of these repetitive tasks? Yes, if you have enough money you can hire a
housekeeper, but they shouldn’t have to do these things either.
So what I want to know is
By Nancy Brisson