My Robot Arm

Today’s post comes directly from everyone’s favorite PDA (Personal Downside Anticipator), Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty.

Egads! Another horrifying science story!

Last time I wrote to you, it was about the deeply troubling exploration of Lake Vostok – a line of scientific inquiry being conducted by Russian geniuses without any allowance of the dangerous precedents set in countless science fiction and horror movies!

Now scientists are making progress in an area where their abilities and imagination are sorely needed, doing work that will someday yield great benefits for millions of deserving paralyzed individuals and through them, all mankind, by making it possible for injured people to operate artificial appendages with their brains.

But! Once again science has failed to allow for what I call the EGF – the Evil Genius Factor.

There is no question that the usual assortment of black-hearted lab rats will appropriate any technology used to create a mind-controlled robot arm, and will turn its power towards the dark side.

No Question! One need look no further than a Spider Man nemesis, Doctor Octopus! Do I want powerful hydraulic arms controlled by my thoughts? If you think the answer could possibly be ‘no’, I will pick you up by the heels with my metallic fingers and shake you like a Homer Hanky.

Science will create it, industry will provide it, and villains will put it to work!

In fact, thought controlled appliances of every kind are on the way and will soon be ubiquitous, multiplying just like the wireless devices we thought were so nifty just ten years ago! Even you Baboons, based on your impulsive conversation yesterday about coffee shops, would certainly fall for the thought-triggered Mr. Coffee drip-pot now being developed in a secret underground lab outside Seattle. Every time java crosses your mind, this infernal brewt will produce another $3 drink and charge it to your account. How long will it take to put you in the poor house once that machine hits the market?

I don’t need proof. I know this will happen! The question is – once your brain is wired like a garage door opener, how much trouble would it be to reverse the circuit and operate YOU like a model airplane?

It’s too bad that Evil Geniuses have to ruin something good for all of us once again, but When I think about all the different ways this amazing technology can be misused, I shudder. And what if your robotic arm also responds to your dreams? You know which ones I mean – the truly weird ones! Who will be responsible for the mayhem that rises out of that connection?

Sorry, paralyzed people. Thought controlled robotic arms must be stopped!

Your paranoid friend,
Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty

BSO Rafferty has a point, but just a minor one. I can’t help but think this technology will do a lot of good -more than the evil he imagines.

Or will it?

42 thoughts on “My Robot Arm”

  1. Cool – an arm that would reach that top shelf of the cupboard that I can’t reach without a step stool! Or one that could telescope out to reach that top part of the wall where I need to paint so I don’t have to climb a ladder (or worse, put a ladder on the stairs because I need to paint the stairwell – BSO Rafferty should be pleased that an arm could do that for me instead of putting me on an unsteady ladder). Plus, I can think of a few folks in my world who would benefit directly from this sort of appendage – a pal with cerebral palsy who would like have better control of a robotic arm that does his bidding vs. fighting muscles that don’t always do what he’d like, another pal with arthritis in her hands who could do some of the fine motor stuff that she can’t do when the arthritis flares…seems like it would do more good than harm. But In the glass half full/half empty argument – I say what can you do with the water you have…(plus it’s never half empty – there is always air filling the other part of the glass…)

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    1. Boy did I screw up that joke. Too Tired.
      I was going to say:
      You, know, Dale, I was thinking. And then, oh, never mind.
      I need a robot to go to Target and the grocery store and the medical supply store.

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  2. BSO Rafferty is undoubtedly correct about some evil genius using this new technology. Has there ever been a new technology that some evil genius hasn’t taken up? So bring on the technology… especially any technology that can vacuum and mop for me!

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  3. Last weekend I was trimming a tree branch with a very long handled manual trimmer. The branch was very high up and I was standing on the ground with the trimmer directly above my head. The branch was just within reach of the trimmer, and I lopped it off, without taking into consideration that my head was between the handles of the trimmer. I wacked myself on both sides of my head by my ears with the handles of the trimmer, leaving large welts on my scalp behind my ears and bruises on my ears. How dumb!. I felt like I was in a Three Stooges move. A robot arm might have prevented closing my head in what ammounted to a vise.

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        1. WP is giving me issues today. Someone as foolish as I was with that trimmer can’t have done all those great quotes.

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        2. Renee… trimmers and chain saws have minds of their own. I think I’ve told the chainsaw massacre story here already so suffice it to say that when I read your story, I could absolutely feel your pain!

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  4. I can imagine how a mind controlled robot could be very handy. I can also envision what chaos it could create if you don’t think carefully enough. A bit like computer programming, if you don’t do it just right, things go haywire.

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  5. i am afraid i would be found out if everything i thought about had my robot body parts going through an effort to make it so, man i would be in huge trouble. the notion makes me grimace. now if there was an on off button that could be aded to the possible equation then youve got a deal. i do have the ability to do constructive ad benevolant things for the planet but i also have this little voice that wont be quieted and if that little bastard was to be on the loose without my constant supervision it would make spiderman look like a slacker. you guys have no idea how hard i work to make this world a safe place.

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  6. Other jobs for my robot arm (preferably a stand-along robot arm)
    Make the bed every morning
    Kitty box
    Aforementioned vacuuming and moping
    Windows (Lord knows nobody else is doing them!)
    Laundry
    Hmmmm… makes it look like I don’t care much for housework, doesn’t it?

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  7. I think they have a device for disabled people that lets them move a cursor on a computer screen with their minds and make selections. I suppose that mind control of a robotic arm is probably another version of the technology for mind control of a computer. There is no telling where this kind of technology will take us.

    Even Orwell might have trouble coming up with a description of what the world would look like if this technology takes over. Perhaps in the end a computer hacker would be the hero who would find a program to disable all the mind control technology forcing people to return to behaving as mere humans without the power to control everything with mind controlled machines.

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    1. or his robot would take him over making us think that the hacker was acting under his own guidance when in fact it was his robot mind calling the shots

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  8. Husband could use a robot arm now. He has just acquired a big, shiny, very old Italian accordian in good working order and is determined to learn to play it in his gospel group.

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  9. I have had days when I really wanted to just think something and have it done, but more like Samantha on Bewitched – I’d have to wiggle my nose or something intentional like that so I’m sure what it is I want done. It’s really scary to think that ANY thought could possibly be put into action. Uffda.

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    1. No kidding – if any thought could be put into action, there would be some awful things done. Bodily harm or death to certain people that make me angry, for starters.

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  10. Really like “infernal brewt”. Better not let the folks at those underground labs hear you say that, though – they might get up in arms about it.

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