May 30, 2005

Robot Report:

As I mentioned on in "myRobot," back in the winter my wife bought a Roomba robot vacuum cleaner from iRobot so that we could get a rabbit for our older son without giving our fur-allergic younger son a permanent asthma attack. The plan worked perfectly until the robot broke down. But iRobot sent us a new one for free, and it's vacuuming the living room as I write.

There is something psychically satisfying about the feeling of on-going accomplishment you get while having your robot do housework while you waste time. The only thing I can compare it to is growing a beard. At the end of a day dithered away, you can always say, "Well, at least my beard has grown in a bit, so the day wasn't a complete loss!"

I suppose some people feel that way about having their servants work for them while they lounge, but I suspect I wouldn't enjoy it, though. Humans are paid by the hour, so every moment of their presence would remind me of my depleting bank balance. In contrast, Roomba is a sunk cost of $200, and his only variable cost is electricity for recharging him.

(By the way, like me, most Roomba owners apparently refer to their robot as "he" or "she" rather than "it.")

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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