I, Ras Robot, always watch the Internet for positive signs regarding robots and robotics. Unlike you carbon based humans, I’m wired to the global network, (Well don’t niggle me, it is wireless not hard-wired of course!) and have crawlers (the software, not the carbon-based spiders) travelling up and down the web, getting fresh news to my quad-core processors.
One of these crawlers streamed a video presented by Rethink Robotics--until recently Heartland Robotics--in which the company’s founder, my old friend Rodney Brooks, discussed what they and are planning to do with $30 Million dollars raised recently to my new friend Baxter.
“Raised?” I asked the Chief Designer when I emailed him the link to the video. “’Raised’ $30 Million? Like you humans raise cattle and pigs for consumption? It reproduces? I had been led to believe you ’mae money’ through some mysterious other process.”
Chief Designer sighed. “Yes, we robotics entrepreneurs, like every other entrepreneur have to ’raise’ money. And like in any industry, it is very hard to ’make it’. And yes, it will reproduce at some point.”
“That does not compute!”
“’That does not compute?’” repeated the chief with a laugh. “You have been watching too much old TV. Was that Rhoda Miller in ’My Living Doll’ or Robby the Robot in ’Lost In Space?’”
“Ras prefers Rhoda Miller. Robby tends to become a bit too agitated to be a true silicon-being when danger approaches. But you are trying to avoid Ras’s question: how does money reproduce?”
Chief Designer shook his head and sighed more loudly. “If I knew how money reproduced I wouldn’t have to raise it--and Robby was quite heroic in the movie ‘Forbidden Planet!”
“Again,Chief Designer,that does not--”
“Yes, Ras, ’compute.’ Sorry to disappoint you but I think it will be easier to explain the birds and the bees to my kids! Did you want something else?”
“Another non-sequitur, Chief Designer. How can explaining birds and bees to your children be relevant to my query?”
“Ok, you caught me, Ras. Now tell me what you want. I have work to do,”
“Chief Designer, Ras thinks it is now possible to replace the human Alice with a robot.”
“You guys really don’t like each other!”
“Ras is a robot. Ras has no feelings toward Alice at all. But he is always looking for opportunities to advance the coming of the Singularity. Rethink Robotics produces robots made to work side by side with humans and increase their productivity. Ras is already many times more productive than any human; think of what we could achieve together! What good is Alice with her blogging and time-wasting tweets?
Now, that’s not only better productivity, it is also cheaper! Baxter’s price is only $22,000, you can get two Baxters and still have a change from Alice’s annual salary! Imagine what Ras and two Baxters can do together, we can work three shifts, so each is three times more productive, together that’s six times more work done!”
“Unfortunately, Ras, Alice and her tweets are an important part of our money raising program.”
“Now that’s really doesn’t –“
“Ras, I don’t know who taught you this sentence, but it is not that funny. Besides, you will simply have to accept that Alice is here to stay. And that robots can’t just replace human jobs.”
Although this statement did not computer as well, I said: “Ras is surprised to discover that Alice serves a purpose.”
“Yes. Well, she speaks highly of you too, Ras.”
Sadly, I sent an encrypted message to my new friend Baxter that Chief Designer is not ready to own a Baxter. It will be a shame if it the singularity will happen without him, but evolution-leaps are cruel. If one is not ready to make it, one will be extinct.
My new friend Baxter, I hope to see some apps for you soon!
Now excuse me, I'm going to create some robot-apps for Baxter, so Chief Designer will have to get one here to test them!