Danger Danger

Boyleing Points

Nothing like visiting the majestic and wonderful Yellowstone National Park to make you think of robots and the end of the world as we know it. I was looking for bison and moose and Big Foot but mostly saw tourists from Asia, many of whom were Japanese.  At least I think they were Japanese. They could have been humanoids programmed to hit you with an elbow as they moved in for the perfect camera shot. From what I’ve been reading, the Japanese have robots running hotels, providing elder care and populating, uhm, dating sites. So, it wouldn’t be a stretch to learn the Yellowstone crowds were hot off an assembly line in Tokyo.

Let me back up a second. First, I gotta tell ya, Boyleing Points is not off hiatus, I’m just interrupting your peace and quiet for a week and then I’ll go back into that unproductive, lazy piece-of-dung cocoon I’ve slipped into as I await the future—when I’m really not needed. I’m just here to give you a heads-up that it’s only a matter of time before Boyleing Points is written by a robot (yeah, I know wise guys – that might give it more life.)

Ya know, in the old days, robots were not to be feared. Anybody who watched the Jetsons cartoon hoped to have a flying car by now, but the hidden gem depicted in the futuristic world of Orbit City was Rosie, the housekeeping robot. Now that’s what I’d kill for. Who needs a flying car? We’ve got the ferry and Belle Rock.

Meanwhile, the news is now full of stories of immigrants and their impact on the economy and society as a whole. But keep your eye on the robots. Seems to me, robots are more of a worry than starving refugees. Postal letter sorters, security guards, truck drivers, assembly line workers, fast food counter workers, even surgeons, are being replaced. In Australia, they use robots to shepherd cattle. And the robots don’t even have to wear boots.  And most of them have proved impervious to cow farts and can even identify the most gaseous cows in the herd.  Cow farts, also know as bovine emissions, are regulated in California. Global warming, you know. Come to think of it, maybe robots are ok in this instance.  Word is, even immigrants don’t want that job.

The thing is, as robots squeeze out workers you gotta admit that some of the stuff is pretty nifty. Have you used ATMs to make deposits? I’ve deposited personal checks written to me by someone who only writes in hieroglyphics and might have advanced Parkinson’s.  Somehow the robot teller deciphers the amount and makes the deposit. I stand there in awe.  This is more impressive than the eclipse.

I leave and never think about the job that scanning robot replaced. But maybe I should.

Reports say 38 percent of jobs could be taken over by robots within 15 years?! 15?  That’s like tomorrow.

The sad, crazy thing is you can sound the alarm but telling people the way to safety is the hard part. People often say, we’re always going to need plumbers and electricians. And maybe that’s true, but who knows? I heard the panhandler in front of the bank is worried he’ll be replaced by a robot. What are you gonna say to a panhandling robot, get a job?

You old timers will remember another robot, the one from Lost In Space. You know what he said every week?  “Danger!  Danger!” We just didn’t realize he was warning us about the future.

Which reminds me of a funny story about Yellowstone. A ranger had to yell at somebody for getting too close to a bear. “You mean the bears are real?” the person asked. 

That’s not such a ridiculous question anymore.

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