Conquering A Fear Of Robots

Commentator Andrei Codrescu reflects on how the number of automated tasks that take place in our lives once troubled him. But no longer. He's come to peace with all the robotic devices that surround us.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Good news today from commentator Andrei Codrescu. While most Americans have been worrying these days about the economy or their kids' education, Andrei has been worrying about robots. Well, no more.

ANDREI CODRESCU: A friend I haven't seen in years asked me, how is it going? I lost my fear of robots, I told him. And when I read that the new Microsoft Xbox Connect is trying to control the living room, I was shocked that I felt no outrage, no angst, nothing at all. And I realized that slowly, slowly, without feeling it, my living room, like my bedroom, and the rest of the house and the city and the country have been taken over by robots working gently, swiftly, stealthily.

In the bedroom they've got you sleeping and loving on drugs, machines wash your dishes and someone playing on a screen somewhere decided what your house is worth and what clothes you should wear. Shoes with springs in them, pants that lie about their true size and the medical shirt that monitors your vitals and emails your doctor if anything is wrong.

And someone put all the books out of the library on a Kindle and left you an extra room to rent when your pension will be gone, which will be soon. And your organs have already been distributed to the future people who will need them because you signed the donor card, either one they gave you or took away your driver's license. You can't remember for sure. But that's okay because you can always Google it.

No, I'm not afraid of robots anymore, I told my friend. The only thing that worries me is that it looks like I have nothing to do, even though the media, entertainment industrial military complex is working around the clock to reassure me of the gravity of nothing. I'm trying to believe it, but I know that only the weather matters.

Well, said my friend, I must be a lot younger than you, because I never even thought that I should be afraid of robots. I just thought that this is the way the world is. Oh, that's why I haven't seen you in years, I said.

NORRIS: Andrei Codrescu's latest book is called "The Poetry Lesson."

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