`David’s Daily Digital Dollop: Dollop 126 – Building. The Future

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Given that all I’ve done today is work on ideas for The Young’uns In The Mix (which you can experience if you buy tickets for Folk East festival in Suffolk – it’s happening Saturday night) I haven’t really done anything that I can write about. So I had a brief look on Twitter for inspiration, and found a BBC news article about “the building site of the future.”

Apparently, building sites of the future will involve robotic builders, usurping the need for human builders. Apparently these robotic builders are very advanced and efficient, and they are entirely fuelled by strong cups of tea, which they must be given every twenty minutes. The robotic builders project is very much in its early faze at the moment, but already huge progress has been made. The robots have been programmed to carry out common basic builders’ tasks. They can wolf-whistle, shout sexist remarks at young women, such as “get your tits out for the lads,” plus they also have a variety of common phrases at their disposal, such as, “it’ll cost ya,” and, “how’s about another cuppa?” They have also been programmed with an impressive, state-of-the-art excuses chip, which boasts thousands of vindications for not turning up, project delays, accidental damage, and sloppy workmanship. Unfortunately, they haven’t yet managed to move the project on to the second faze, which will be to teach the robots how to build. So currently the robot builders are only capable of the wolf whistling, the sexism, drinking tea and coming up with excuses. So basically they’ve already reached the level of some actual human builders. The robots are coming for their jobs, and the word on the street is that the builders are bricking it.

As exciting as the prospect of robot builders might seem, the trouble with replacing every human worker with a machine is that there won’t be any people who can actually afford to live, as everyone is out of work. We will have machines that are capable of building us houses, cooking us food, driving us to and from work, but we won’t have a job for the robot cars to take us to, and we won’t have any money to buy a house for the robots to build us. Of course, the danger is that governments and big corporations will realise that it’s much easier to control robots than it is humans, and so we’ll reach a situation where we are turfed out of our houses, and the robots move in. As robotic technology improves and the robots get more intelligent, their demands and needs are going to expand. Eventually it will be the humans who are the slaves of the robots, expected to carry out the robots’ bidding. We will be forced to spend entire days just repeatedly refuelling robotic builders with strong tea, while they build their palaces of gold. And the robot builders will look down on us, point, laugh, and say, “I told you it would cost you?”

Another thing the article mentions is that houses will be built using a 3D printer. This sounds unbelievably fantastical. Have we even mastered the actual ink/laser printer yet? When I used to do an office job, I had endless problems with the printer. It would sometimes take up whole days just trying to get the bloody thing to work. And now we’re moving onto printing houses? One of the common problems with the printer at work was that someone using the printer before me would have set it to print multiple times, and I, not knowing that someone had been using the computer, would end up accidentally printing off ten copies. Often I would set the printer going and then leave the office to go to the toilet while I waited for it to print, and when I came back there would be loads of paper strewn over the floor, as it duplicated the thing I wanted to print over and over again. Is this going to happen in the 3D printing world as well? Are we going to set our printers going in the morning to print us a house, only to return back from work, ready to move in and find absolute mayhem, as the street is awash with houses which have been built on top of p people’s cars and entirely blocked up the road? Not the best way to ingratiate you with your new neighbours. and

The other article I read was a bout a new museum exhibition about the history of underwear, but to be honest I stopped reading it after the first paragraph because it sounded like a complete load of pants. So, there you go, another classic Dollop. I thank you.

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