Robot Assistants

Taking Joe for a walk early this morning, we were trailed by a Garbage truck, groaning and shouting itself as it digested its chicken bones and pieces of computer and documents and what sounded like metal folding chairs. I was worried that it was so loud it would scare or piss off Joe, but he was enthralled. The truck pulled up next to us and I stopped so he could See. That’s where all the things we throw away go, in the back of that truck, and then to a dump to just sit there, and then to create an amusement park for Jelly Fish in the middle of the ocean, so we should try not to throw away too many things. I waited for one of the human Garbage Professionals to hop out and toss the bin into the back of the truck, but neither did. They just sat in the truck while the truck released its giant robot arm. The robot arm picked up the bin, emptied it into the back, retracted, then the truck went on its way. And I realized, the humans were just in the truck to help the robot if it got confused, or stuck. THE ROBOTS ARE NOT HELPING US. We are helping THEM. Let that sink in, I say to Joe. Mom, he responds with full and round words. Remember when I was a baby? Remember the Snoo? You literally let a robot rock me to sleep sometimes so that you didn’t have to. You’re still a baby, I remind him. Eh, debatable, he says. Let’s go home. You just reminded me, there’s a new article in last month’s Atlantic about Singularity I want to read. I push my son back home, towards the Future.

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