So, news is breaking that Mark Zuckerberg has announced his intentions (on Facebook) to build an AI robot butler. Would you trust one?
Giving away money is one thing when you’re so rich and I’m a great admirer of philanthropy – if I had money like Zuckerberg has, I’d distribute my wealth.
But designing a robot to manage his domestic life sounds a bit sci-fi, a bit Woody Allen, a bit BB8 (though he essentially rolled around and didn’t do many chores for Rey or Han Solo).
The nearest I can think of in my own life was when we bought an iRobot Roomba. This was cutting edge technology 7 years ago – if you’ve never heard of one, it’s a cylindrical self-docking vacuum cleaner that was supposed to be intelligent enough to clean without human help. It impressed us for a while but the length of time it took to do a room, with its 2 hours of whirring, was like Chinese water torture. Simple things would defeat it – it would imprison itself under a radiator or wedge itself under a chair, in some sort of robotic 70s strike gesture.
Made in Germany, too, but remarkably inefficient.
It’s dead now, resting mournfully in the back spare bedroom on its grave of the disconnected dock.
Some teacher questions for discussion:
How will Zuckerberg’s robot compare with my late Roomba (R.I.P.)?
I am deadly curious about it as I love gadgetry of all types.
Will the robot update Facebook?
Will it Tweet endlessly knowing that the 140 character limit is rumoured to be changed?
Will it empty the dishwasher, sort the washing, put washing away?
Will it clean, cook, be confined just indoors and / or the garden?
And final ponderings:
Will Zuckerberg be able to programme it to walk to Walmart? What security devices are in place to stop some local pondlife taking said Robot? Will it be street enough to cope with merciless banter from yoots in skinny jeans, Adidas Originals? Will it take selfies? What will its social media settings be like? Will it write blogs? Bathe children? Do school runs? If Zuckerberg brought it here, would Norfolk impound it?
We all know Apple and Google are in the tech race to build a driverless car. They might already have done it – I’ve not checked to be honest.
But would you trust a driverless car from Apple? If it breaks down or crashes, would you be expected to carry it into a Genius Bar, to some hipster tattooed mechanic?
The same things about the car worries me about the robot and my late great Roomba.
So here Mr Zuckerberg, is my call to action:
You’re rich, I’m not. You’re philanthropic, I need money.
I can do all the things your robot will do but for less cash.
If you want me to be a real butler for you, give me a call.
I also, Mr Zuckerberg, fancy visiting the USA now gun control is finally being grasped.