Friday, April 18, 2008

I For One Welcome Our New Robot Overlords

There is a new thing in Schossadlerflug. A friend of ours, who currently has a bad back and a new book deal decided that what her life needed was less vacuuming and more future. To that end she bought a Roomba, a small robotic vacuum cleaner. Tinseltroos, who has been working serious overtime of late and is in a self-present state of mind was not about to let that slide and so took herself off to John Lewis yesterday and returned with a Roomba of our own.

The Roomba, or Murphy as it is now known, sits in the hall in its Roomba hutch waiting expectantly for one or other of us to tickle it behind its robotic ear and press the "clean" button. On that command it chirrups happily and then blunders around the flat bumping into things. At present I do not fear imminent take-over by our heavily-armed robotic nemeses as the Roomba is clearly far too stupid. It tried to shut itself in the bedroom repeatedly by knocking out the wedge that keeps the door open five times. That said, for a wee machine it does a good job and once you've removed things like boot laces off the floor it gets along just fine. There was a moment on its first sortie last night where it attempted to eat one of Tinseltroos' piratey boots and we had to perform open Roomba surgery to disentangle the laces from its innards.

I can tell that I'm going to have an ongoing series of existential crises with this thing. For example I already feel guilty about switching it on to clean the living room as we left for work this morning. Poor little guy, all alone in the flat, with nothing in its life apart from cleaning for ungrateful humans. I feel quite wretched that we'll get home where it will have happily peeped to unlistening ears to announce that it has found its little house and is going to have a quiet charge for a bit. I feel wretched and I shouldn't. God I hate this inability I have not to form meaningful relationships with pieces of technology. I'm certain that the Roomba does not feel the same way but then we've all been in those unrequited affection situations haven't we?

If I get home and the floor is clean and the Roomba is sat it its hutch quietly like an obedient spaniel I shall probably cry. If, on the other hand, I find the flat empty with only a sprinkling of saw-dust to hint at the previous existence of my guitars there will be trouble. If I also find a fat little Roomba sat on the sofa, complaining about how full it is, watching our TV and drinking my scotch then there'll be hell to pay.

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Blogger kiwinavega said...

I'd love to know if your roomba drank your whisky - as long as it didn't, I want one...

Nice blog by the way, like your style of writing :)


7:16 pm  
Blogger Churlita said...

Hilarious. I've heard of those, but never seen them in action. I would probably have guilt issues too.

7:27 pm  
Blogger Mr Atrocity said...

Kiwinavega, The Roomba actually seemed to have done very little whilst we were out. In fact we begin to suspect that it only works when it's being watched which rather defeats the point of the exercise. Oh well.

Thanks for stopping by.

Churlita, Since the Roomba did nothing, apart from hiding under the sofa, during the day I felt very little guilt at all. Mostly just a sense of indignant rage. I'm sure it'll pass.

10:11 am  
Blogger booda baby said...

That was very entertaining. And unnerving. I'll anthropomorphize anything. On good days, I call that a talent for suspending disbelief. The rest of the time, it makes things like a Roomba scary.

4:18 pm  

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