why am I trying to build a robot anyway?

People look at me as if I’m insane, when I tell them of my efforts to build a robot capable of automatically growing and caring for vegetables. – or they laugh and say I will still be trying in twenty years time.

To the latter, I just smile, and say “probably”. To the former, though – I don’t understand why people think it is crazy.

This post should hopefully explain my rationale, and maybe even convince you that it’s insane to not at least try it.

Ever since they were invented, computers have been touted as the device which would make everything so much more efficient than before.

But then – so is the same said of every other tool – the plough, for example, helps to till the ground faster, the printing press allows books to be shared faster. The insert-tool-here allows you to insert-job-here faster.

However – in all cases, creating faster and more efficient tools simply allows you to do more work – it doesn’t save you any labour – it just allows you to do more labour in the same time.

Are you working a five hour week? If not, then you are still working around the same lengthy hours that people have done for centuries – you’re just getting more of it done on time.

Efficiency is not the solution! The solution is to remove the need for the work altogether – not to make the work easier to do.

So – here is an alternative idea:

Sit back and relax. Now, think to yourself – why are you working? Is it to get money? What do you need money for?

When I think of it, the reasons for money can be broken into two essential categories and an “optional” category:

  • Essential: housing
  • Essential: food
  • Optional: everything else

The “Optional” category includes such crap as Entertainment, Clothing, Transport, etc. I am not advocating that you should completely ignore those things in your quest for an efficient life – just be aware that they are optional – they are not absolutely necessary for you to be able to live comfortably and without hassle.

When it comes down to it, food is really the most important thing you can spend money on. You can live without entertainment, clothes and a place to live, but you cannot live without food. Let’s ignore the homeless route, though – it’s not comfortable, and we want to be comfortable.

So, assuming we own our own house (work with me here…), the only thing left that you require, that is costing you money, is food. You need to learn to provide food for yourself, without using money.

The easiest way to do this is through gardening (or “farming” – whatever you want to call it). To grow potatoes, for instance, it’s just necessary that you put some potatoes onto some soil, and dump some compost or dead weeds on top of them, and weed it every now and then.

However, that’s just exchanging your office job for a job in the garden – I mean, you could just as well be working for the same amount of hours and buy the potatoes without touching the garden (back to square one). The true way to escape from the drudgery is to have someone else do the job for you.

But – who? If you hire a gardener to do it, then you’ll need to get a job in order to pay the gardener (back to square one again), so you need to somehow get your gardening done from someone that does not require payment.

Let’s take a detour: imagine what your life would be like if you owned your own house, and your food was provided completely free…

You would never need to work, except if you wanted to purchase something. I cannot emphasise how important that is – you would never need to work, unless you wanted to purchase something.

In fact, you could, if you wanted, live out your entire life just chilling out in the back garden of your house, as your robot toiled in the fields. You could learn to enjoy watching the clouds instead of TV. You could learn to get over your need for neat clothes and just let it all hang out. Anything you ever did that could be called “work” would be done purely for the pleasure of it.

If you do feel the need for entertainment, then why not pop around and play a game of cards with someone, or join a band, etc? If you feel the need for clothes, then learn to make your own, or barter for them from someone else.

Once you have everything that you need, the pressure to provided things that you want will disappear.

Sounds fantastic, right?

That’s where my robot comes in.

Robots do not require any form of pay, except in the form of electricity, which can be provided freely anyway, once you’ve installed a wind farm, sterling engine, solar array, or any other alternative renewable electricity source.

I really do not understand why people don’t see it as essential that this dream be brought to fruition – I consider it personally to be the ultimate goal in any civilization to free themselves from all drudgery and allow themselves to do just basically what they want, whenever they want, and without needing to spend 90% of their waking hours hunched over a keyboard.

4 Comments.

  1. Go google for that slashdot guy who is outsourcing his own job to India. He now acts only in a supervisory role on his 65,000 a year job by paying a programmer in India 15,000 a year. He’s currenty seeking a second job and after a few months hopes to do the same with that. While this isn’t all that relevant to your own quest, and some guy growing vegetables for you India certainly won’t be of much help, its certainly an interesting development.

  2. hostyle – that’s hilarious! I somehow think that would end up being more work than is really needed, though – getting requirements in an understandable format from clients is hard enough – translating that into language (English or otherwise) that people in a completely other country would understand… I think I’ll stick with just doing the work myself!

  3. Exactly! Great link – that’s very like what I’m trying to do – although mine is much much smaller (and therefore less likely to crush the vegetables while attacking the weeds).
    The robot in that link is monstrously huge! I envision mine being at most 18 inches cubed, as a prototype, and smaller than that when I start improving on it.
    On the progress front; coincidentally, I am working on the image recognition program for it right this moment – I hope to release that at the end of the week (assuming it works!).

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