I got really sick this week, which can only be a sign that I have a vacation coming up soon.
I always get sick either near or on vacation...there's not nearly enough stress involved in vacations, except for the planning of them, and when I'm either near or on an actual vacation my body goes into what I call "Destress Autoimmune Defense Syndrome."
As I start my vacation and the stress slowly begins to seep out of my body, it's as though I transform into "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" and my body is immediately exposed to all sorts of various and sundry illnesses.
If that starts to happen, I try to find something stressful to do to try and shock my body out of vacation mode and back into high stress work mode, even if only for a few minutes. For example, I'll open my laptop and try to get connected to the Internet to get my work email on a really slow POTS connection -- that can really get the stress juices flowing. Or calling into my work voicemail to listen to all the messages piling up or, even better, finding out that the mailbox is full. That also generally gets my stress level back up to a healthy altitude.
Anyhow, my point in bringing all this up was this: As I layed around on my couch feeling all sick and sorry for myself, it occurred to me that I needed a robot.
I don't have a pet. They require a lot of maintenance, particularly where I live, and even with the company they provide, they generally can't run to the fridge for more Gatorade when you're not feeling well.
So it occurred to me that a robot might be just the thing.
One, they don't need a lot of emotional support (well, any really). You can yell at them all you want, or tell them to pick up the laundry, or turn the channel on the remote...you're not going to hurt their feelings, and they have no vested interest in the outcome -- they'll do whatever.
Two, they have a code of conduct, which is entirely appropriate in this post-Sarbanes Oxley compliance world:
Second Law of Robotics: "A robot must obey orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law" [First Law of Robotics: "A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm"]) How many companions come with a set of laws ruling their behavior?
Third, robots are cool. Take Asimo, the next-generation robot from Honda Corporation I read about recently. Asimo is still in his infancy (he's five, actually), but is already learning how to take on simple office work, greet visitors, and fetch refreshments:
"Asimo, more Gatorade, I'm dyin' of thirst on the couch here!"
According to the report, Asimo can also push a cart weighing up to 22 pounds, and can grip and carry a tray of drinks and place it safely on the table:
"Asimo, more Greygoose martinis...Shaken, not stirred!"
But here's the best part: Asimo can now receive remotely sent commands from her master (Me!) via a wireless integrated circuit tag. It's always nice to have a robot to share in the complex unpleasantries sometimes required by social engineering:
"Asimo, go down to the lobby and tell the nice salesperson that I've had a heart attack due to not having gotten enough stress while on vacation, and that I'll get back with them just as soon as I get out of this plastic bubble!"