As most of you know, I was born in New York City and, in many ways, I'm as American as apple pie. I'm a wildly enthusiastic patriot and a true believer in the fact that America is the greatest country in the history of the world. It may not be perfect but it's better than all the alternatives.
At the same time, I'm also very proud of my Asian heritage. That's the great thing about America, right? We all come from somewhere. And our different backgrounds all weave a richer social fabric and a greater American experience. But like I said, being of Asian descent is a part of who I am. And, growing up, I would take every opportunity to espouse the many great attributes of the motherland.
If I'm playing backgammon for money with one of my Iranian buddies, it's not uncommon for me, in the middle of a hot streak, to jump up, do a funky chicken dance, and yell out, "Oh yeah, baby! Persians may have invented backgammon...but the motherfucking Koreans have perfected it! Booyakasha!"
When my friend's Ford broke down and I had to drive him to school in my Honda Accord, every single day he had to listen to me talk shit, "Yeah, your people may have invented the automobile. But like everything else, we took what you made and we made it BETTER! Praise the Lord!"
Once, a buddy of mine was raving on and on about his latest girlfriend. Apparently, she was the greatest thing since sliced bread. At one point, our buddy even said to us, "No, really, fellas. She's one in a million!" To which I always reply, "Dude, if she's really one in a million, the only thing that means is that THERE ARE 3,800 JUST LIKE HER in Asia!"
Anyway, why am I bringing this all up?
Because it seems my people have done it again! Apparently, South Korea's Ministry of Information and Communications has announted that they will introduce a series of Internet-connected household robots before the end of this year. These robots will be able to perform such household tasks as cleaning, monitoring homes, reading to children, and ordering pizza via the Internet. They're even working on robots in the near future that will be able to cook!
Holy crap! How cool is this? It's Mary Poppins on batteries. It's Mrs. Doubtfire with an ethernet connection. Throw in the ability to make a martini and we're talking Wifi Stepford Wives!
Did any of you ever think that, in our lifetime, we'd ever see anything like this? Remember the robot from "Lost in Space?" In many ways, he was the archetype of the perfect robot nanny. But think about it. Robot nannies could seriously revolutionize childcare. No more worries about overtime pay, vacation days, green cards or sketchy boyfriends!
Sure, there might be a few kinks in the system that need to be worked out before we put a robot in every household. For one thing, we'd have to ensure that there was some way that the robots couldn't all gang up on us and control the human race using Skynet. That would totally suck! Maybe we should build some Terminator robots now before it's too late.
And of course, we' have to make sure that the robots were completely safe around the kids. And the robots would have to be a little mean so that our kids wouldn't end up loving the robots more than us. That would suck too. ("But I don't want to go with you, Daddy. I want to be with C-3PO!")
In addition, I'm sure that there are some serious moral and ethical issues that will arise as these robots get more advanced and the likelihood of them being in every household increases. I can't even begin to fathom the sheer number of implications.
All I know is that if they start selling robots that can also change diapers, take out the garbage, walk the dog, and create PowerPoint presentations?
Sign me up. I'll take two.
(Update: Seems like the Japanese are getting in on the action too. Their robot will even bring you a beer.)