When most people think of robots they picture C3P0 of Star Wars fame, or perhaps the Terminator minus Schwarzenegger’s skin. Since the 1920s, when the word robot was first used in its modern context, the world has grown more fascinated with and more accustomed to these mechanical marvels. Now used for everything from mowing laws and vacuuming floors to exploring the furthest reaches of our solar system, robots are everywhere. The domestic robot may be one of the more under appreciated of these.
Under a strict definition, a “robot” can be defined as a machine which undertakes complex and/or repetitive tasks autonomously or with guidance/programming. This can apply to anything from a dishwasher to a space probe. An answering machine may be viewed as “just a machine”, but in actuality, it is a robotic receptionist. The same applies to a dishwasher, or washing machine. We may take a broader definition and call a toaster a robot… would you rather start a fire and sit with your bread speared on a stick until it was just right? The toaster does it for you; some of them even contain microchips (really).
Robots are used in an increasingly wide variety of tasks, most of them unpleasant or downright dangerous such as cleaning sewer pipes or disarming bombs. Despite the personal advantages of domestic robots, many people have lost their jobs and become resentful of the introduction of industrial robots which can do a job faster and with more precision than a human.
Although they may not look like Rosie from The Jetsons, robots have found their way into our everyday lives; as long as there is always an “off” switch I think it is a good thing.