Here They Come – and I Ain’t Talking About Immigrants

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image credit: Markku Lahdesmaki’

If y’all think these immigrants are nefarious, stealing our lawn-mowing and curing-cancer jobs, you’re really going to resent the robots.

Of course, they’ve been displacing factory workers for decades, but they’re getting ready to start driving our taxis, buses, and semis. If you don’t think that’s a big deal, on your commute tomorrow, count delivery trucks parked outside convenience stores, supermarkets, and liquor stores; check out the garbage trucks rumbling off to the landfill; take note of those cement trucks on the way to the soulless and practically treeless developments where the houses look like inbred siblings.

Where are these drivers, mostly males, going to find gainful employment?  How are they going to earn a living?

Not at Uber or Lyft.

Use your imaginations, dental hygienists.  I suspect you’re not long for this world of employment if you’re counting in decades.

Surgeons?

Maybe barbers will survive —  or maybe not. Rather than boring you with chitchat about professional sports, your robotic barber could be programmed to sing arias or replicate Lenny Bruce’s stand-up routines, depending upon your predilections.

Of course, they’ll have personalities, like Siri does, sort of.  I find myself asking “please” and calling her by name. “Siri, would you please call Loquacia Muldoon?”

She sometimes direct-addresses me using my childhood moniker Rusty.   We’re one little happy master/slave duo. “No, sorry, Rusty, I can’t chant the Odyssey in Linear B Greek.”

Our mechanic servants will be charming, whether urbane, or folksy; you’ll get to choose, to designate their personalities, i.e., if you’re one of the lucky ones, i.e., employed, i.e., not scrounging around the Blade Runner hellscape picking through garbage.

I have to admit, though, the only robots I’ve ever encountered that I like are the ones on Mystery Science Fiction 3000.

The rest of them — the Jetsons‘ robot maid, for example, the Class M-3 Model B-9 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robo from Lost in Space, and even Hal from 2001, a Space Odyssey– bore me.

Working folks and professionals should find robots much more frightening than Guatemalan refugees. Automatons don’t need Social Security or Medicare or Xmas bonuses.   They don’t get black lung or pregnant or ask for raises.

Or pop bennies on cross-country trips in their sixteen-wheelers.

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