• Follow us

Gadgets

Hitting the Books: Robots came for our jobs, then they came for our coffee

Sponsored Links AlexLMX via Getty Images

Welcome to Hitting the Books. With less than one in five Americans reading just for fun these days, we've done the hard work for you by scouring the internet for the most interesting, thought provoking books on science and technology we can find and delivering an easily digestible nugget of their stories.

Talking to Robots: Tales From Our Human-Robot Futuresby David Ewing DuncanBook cover

We have no chance of escaping the coming robot revolution, nor should we want to. Our modern lives are already full of robots -- they're in our phones, our cars, hospitals and boardrooms, assisting everyone from factory workers to astrophysicists. They make our lives overwhelmingly better -- that is, until one gets between a hungover human and their morning jolt of java.

In Talking to Robots, journalist and author David Ewing Duncan -- with help from some of today's leading scientific researchers -- presents 24 visions of the future and what our personal and professional interactions might look like once robots finish taking over.

Coffee Delivery Bot

Waiting.

Waiting.

Cranky.

Need coffee.

It's so early in the morning.

Need my hit of caffeine.

Now.

Wait, here it comes!

My holo-app has detected my incoming coffee delivery robot drone, designated as CoffeeBot-FRED.

It's only 4.7634 minutes away.

Whew!

I track it on my 3-D GPS holo-app as the drone bobs and weaves. It's looping around, using elaborate sensors to avoid literally billions of other drones buzzing through the sky even this early in the morning—huge driverless bus and car drones taking people to work, and Amazon delivery drones that range from the size of an old-style semi to the size of a hummingbird. All these drones zip, zap, and fly amid police surveillance drones, anti- surveillance drones, 1-800-FLOWERS drones, baby diaper delivery and pickup drones, birthday surprise drones, carbon monitoring drones, emergency condom delivery drones, and every other sort of robot drone for everything that humans do.

Once, before the Drone Age, people supposedly could see the sky uncluttered by buzzing, hovering flying machines. Back then, at this early hour just after dawn, they say you could actually see the sunrise—clouds dappled in orange, yellow, red, and pink glowing with the dawn. They could see sunsets, too.

I'm not kidding! You've seen the vids, and some of us have traveled to drone- free zones to see for ourselves.

None of this matters, however, as I lie under my covers, waiting, waiting, waiting!

Jesus. It's still 4.7634 minutes away.

Are you fucking kidding me?!

Uh-oh, that did it. My agitation has generated concern with my iHealth X-700, which is monitoring all my health metrics (see "Doc Bot"). I get a small flag that pops up on the holo-dashboard floating above my head, informing me that my cortisol levels are elevated, and the flush in my face is increasing, though it's undetectable by human eyes. Out of habit, I glance at the stress metrics on the holo- display, even though I don't really care right now. Actually, they're not that bad, just slightly out of range.

Shall I inform your iDoc bot? The words from my biometric monitor bot float in the air, appearing as a readout in soothing light blue and green letters and images.

I shake my head. It's nothing a little joe won't take care of.

Then I wonder: Am I addicted?

And just like that, an ad pops up for a caffeine addiction detection app. Amazon Bot Neural-Prime is offering it at 30 percent off if I buy it using Opti-Order Prime XT Deluxe, which allows me to select products and purchase them literally with a blink of my robo-enhanced eye.

I ignore the ad, not really caring if I'm hooked on joe.

"Come on," I say out loud as I watch CoffeeBot-FRED hover in a holding pattern, waiting for a space big enough to fly through without smashing into other drones.

3.7633 minutes.

3.7632 minutes.

3.7631 minutes.

Great. A whole 0.0003 minutes closer—which of course isn't accurate, since the drone has been obviously hovering and barely moving for something, like, five minutes. Why, for fuck's sake, did these coffee delivery apps say a drone is just 3.7631 minutes away when it could be ten minutes until it actually gets here?

I verbally order my iHealth X-700 to stand down—and repeat the command for all my machines to go into sleep mode—machines that monitor not only my health metrics but also the air moisture and chemical content in my sky-condo, the weather outside, and much, much more. My holo-feed shows the ongoing data on these small dashboards that float in the air, ghostlike apparitions of displays and data glowing in pleasant colors that I can see through. My feed also displays a queue of waiting messages for me to read once I get my joe (most of them are stupid holo-ads), plus various news feeds that normally I like to read and watch. Right now, though, they're driving me crazy with their gentle beeps and chirps.

"What part of 'sleep mode' didn't you understand?" I say, realizing that my sarcasm is lost on most of these nonsentient machines.

But my bots should know that I can't handle all this without my first coffee!

2.9335 minutes. A little better, even if the app shows CoffeeBot-FRED hovering again.

Wow, I just had a crazy thought. I hear that some people are buying old-fashioned coffeemakers that people used ages ago. Apparently, you actually grind the coffee beans yourself and put them into a papery thing. (What's it called? A filter?) You then heat up some water and the machine makes the coffee for you.

No drones!

This is how people got their fix before coffee delivery drones, an idea, by the way, that originally came from an ancient computer company called IBM. In the early twenty- first century, they patented the first coffee delivery drone designed to deliver this luscious liquid directly into your cup or by lowering a cup of coffee using an unspooling string—both options still available today. The original idea was to have coffee delivery drones available just in offices, where workers could summon them with a wave of their hand.

The patents also detailed biometric systems on the drones that would measure facial expressions and other metrics that indicated whether a person ordering the coffee was tired and perhaps needed a strong blend, or if a person had reached their limit of caffeine and might become jittery and agitated if they drank more.

1.0001 minutes.

It's almost here!

0.0022 minutes.

It's here! It's here!

I raise myself up on my elbow, still in bed, as I hear the drone portal in my roof open and shut and the low, steady, reassuring buzz of the tiny flying machine approaching.

"I thought you'd never come," I say, careful to smile and sound friendly so the drone's rating software will give me five stars. The drone's holo-readout flashes back a smiley face.

The grinning drone hovers for a minute, its precious cargo dangling below it in warming pouches. It's scanning my biometrics to gauge my disposition. I smile as best I can, barely able to contain myself I want that hit of caffeine so badly.

"We're sorry, madam," says the drone's soothing voice, its holo-readout flashing an expression of concern, "but we detect a higher than nominal level of anxiety in your biometrics, which indicates that you should forgo full-strength coffee this morning."

I'm irate as my own biometric readings floating in the air agree with the drone's assessment. Traitors!

Of course, these are all mere suggestions. As a human, I have the final decision over what happens here. But a failure to comply with the machine's recommendations could mean a less-than-five-star rating."How about a nice cup of decaf?" suggests the drone in a pleasant voice, smiling again, "or an herbal tea? Perhaps mint or chamomile?"

"Fuck that!" I erupt, and instantly regret it.

The drone shifts to a frowny face.

"Please, madam, there is no need to get further excited."

"Yes, yes, you're right," I manage to say with a smile so fake that it almost certainly won't fool the biometrics.

"I really would like a strong brew," I say, knowing that this will impact my rating, but what the hell.

"If you insist," says the drone with an even more frowny face, even as my iHealth X-700 begins blinking a stronger suggestion to inform my iDoc bot about my anxious state.

CoffeeBot-FRED hovers there for a moment as it begins to brew my order. Then it flashes an expression of sorrow with virtual tears flowing on its facial readout as it informs me that it's actually out of strong-brew coffee. It apologizes for the inconvenience and for an apparent glitch in its sensor array that didn't notice its strong-brew tank was on empty.

"I have just ordered another coffee delivery drone for you," says CoffeeBot-FRED soothingly. "Please consult your app."

And just like that, CoffeeBot-FRED zips away.

My hands are shaking as I check my holo-app and see that another CoffeeBot is indeed coming, CoffeeBot-FATIMA. The icon appears on my 3-D GPS holo-tracking grid along with another smiley face that says, "Your order is on its way!"

"Thank God," I manage to mutter as I get an incoming holo-text from a very concerned looking iDoc bot that looks like Ellen Pompeo playing Meredith Grey from Grey's Anatomy, which I refuse to accept. Ads for various meditation neural-apps and antianxiety nutraceuticals also pop up in my holo-feed, which I immediately blink away.

Then I see the time to delivery: 17.6533 minutes! CoffeeBot-FATIMA appears to be hovering amid the billions of drones, apparently not moving at all.

Excerpted from the book Talking to Robots: Tales From Our Human-Robot Futures by David Ewing Duncan. Copyright © 2019 by David Ewing Duncan. Published by arrangement with Dutton, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

In this article: coffee, column, David Ewing Duncan, robots, Talking to Robots, tomorrow All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Comment Comments Share 228 Shares Share Tweet Share Save Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

Engadget RSS Feed

'Call of Duty' crossplay lands on October 25th New! 2019-09-19 09:39:00If you and your pals have different games consoles you don't really have a whole bunch of options when it comes to playing together -- but now, Activ

Google is testing Incognito Mode for Maps New! 2019-09-19 09:22:00Google has rolled out Incognito Mode to Maps' preview group for testing, so you may not have to wait that long to be able to use it. The feature was

Roku's latest Ultra player is faster and has New! 2019-09-19 09:00:00Roku has refreshed some of its streaming players to make them smaller and faster, while it's revealed what Roku OS 9.2 has in store. The latest $99.9

T-Mobile will give Apple Card owners higher in-store New! 2019-09-19 09:00:00T-Mobile has announced a partnership with Apple to offer up to three percent cashback on in-store purchases for customer's who use the new Apple Card

'Assemble with Care' sets the standard for Apple New! 2019-09-19 09:00:00I've never been much of a tinkerer. I look after my favorite gadgets -- new and old -- wiping them down, swaddling them in cases and backing up whate

Impossible Burger makes its grocery store debut in New! 2019-09-19 09:00:00Impossible Burger will soon be available at your local grocer. The company announced that starting on September 20th its plant burgers will be availab

Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro has a 'quad-camera' and New! 2019-09-19 08:55:00Huawei's party may have been spoiled by leaks, but the company was still smiling as it invited the world's press to meet its Galaxy Note killer, the

A 4G flip phone with Google Assistant is New! 2019-09-19 08:30:00Dumb phones are getting smarter. Last year Nokia showed us what was possible in a feature phone with its 8110 4G, now Alcatel is leveraging the same o

Watch Huawei's Mate 30 event right here New! 2019-09-19 08:03:00After all those Huawei product photos leaked over the past weeks, the company might have no surprises left in store for its Mate 30 event in Munich, G

'Link's Awakening' on Switch doesn't ruin the formula New! 2019-09-19 08:00:00Link's Awakening is a weird Zelda game that wears its quirks on its sleeve. It started life as a port of the SNES title A Link to the Past but morphe

Bob Iger: Disney might have merged with Apple New! 2019-09-19 07:32:00A few days ago, Disney chief Bob Iger resigned from Apple's board of directors ahead of TV+'s launch in November -- the House of Mouse, after all, i

The Morning After: Are dual-screen laptops a gimmick New! 2019-09-19 07:15:00Hey, good morning! You look fabulous. This morning, we're looking at Facebook's next attempt at making hardware, and investigating the appeal of an

Sciences et Avenir en temps

France: Google verse 500 millions pour arrêter des 2019-09-12 10:12:58PARIS (Reuters) - Google a accepté de verser 500 millions d'euros d'amende dans le cadre d'un accord, homologué jeudi par la justice,

Facebook ne peut aujourd'hui lancer sa monnaie Libra 2019-09-12 07:29:33PARIS (Reuters) - Facebook ne peut être autorisé à développer sa cryptomonnaie Libra en Europe, a estimé jeudi Bruno

Toyota teste une Prius alimentée par le soleil 2019-09-12 06:56:02par Kevin Buckland TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor teste un véhicule alimenté à l'énergie solaire dans le cadre d'un proj

VIDEO. Une Audi autonome éclairée par des drones 2019-09-12 04:10:54Le constructeur automobile allemand a présenté un audacieux concept car au salon automobile de Francfort. Les phares sont remplacé

Mission terminée : le robot humanoïde Fedor n'ira 2019-09-11 11:25:34La mission est terminée pour le premier robot humanoïde russe à avoir séjourné dans l'espace, Fedor, qui ne sera plu

Et des cendres du 11-septembre sortit Google News 2019-09-11 09:28:53Le jour des attentats contre le World Trade Center et le Pentagone en 2001, Google a enregistré un brusque afflux de requêtes qu&rsq

La cryptomonnaie de Facebook va solliciter une licence 2019-09-11 02:10:42ZURICH (Reuters) - Libra, le projet de cryptomonnaie de Facebook, va solliciter une autorisation en tant que système de paiement en Suisse, a-t

Apple présente l'iPhone 11 et Apple TV+, son 2019-09-10 15:12:44Apple a présenté l'iPhone 11 lors de sa conférence annuelle de présentation de ses nouveautés le 10 septembre 2019

Ford lance une offensive dans l'électrique en Europe 2019-09-10 12:54:25(Reuters) - Ford Motor a annoncé mardi le lancement de huit modèles électriques cette année en Europe, où il s'est

PSA n'exclut pas des défaillances de groupes auto 2019-09-10 05:51:17PARIS (Reuters) - PSA n'exclut pas que la décennie qui s'annonce soit marquée par des défaillances d'entreprises du secteur au

Etats-Unis: Des Etats enquêtent sur des géants de 2019-09-09 15:35:05WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Les autorités judiciaires de la 48 Etats américains, du District of Columbia et de Porto Rico ont ouvert une enqu

Nouveaux iPhone : ce que pourrait annoncer Apple 2019-09-09 12:06:43Plus de coloris, de meilleures photos ou encore une meilleure autonomie... Que nous réservent les différents iPhone présent&eacut

LEXPRESS.fr - Rss High-Tech

Sécurité des paiements en ligne : ce que 2019-09-12 08:40:50De nouvelles normes destinées à renforcer la sécurité des transactions en ligne vont entrer en vigueur samedi.

SVOD : Salto périlleux 2019-09-11 13:00:00A l'heure ou Apple déboule sur le marché de la SVOD, Salto, le "Netflix français", résistera-t-il aux obstacles sem&eac

iPhone 11, streaming, jeux vidéo... Apple présente ses 2019-09-10 14:24:00Depuis la Californie, Tim Cook a présenté ce mardi les nouveautés de la marque à la pomme pour cette rentrée 2019.

Italie : Facebook ferme les comptes de deux 2019-09-10 09:25:17Le géant américain accuse notamment ces deux organisations d'extrême droite néo-fascistes de propager la haine envers les

Wikipédia indisponible dans plusieurs pays après une attaque 2019-09-07 07:56:00Samedi matin, la Wikimedia Foundation affirmait que cette attaque était "en cours". Le site est de nouveau accessible en France depuis samedi

"Facebook Dating" : un pari ambitieux et risqué 2019-09-06 12:24:00Le réseau social a annoncé jeudi le lancement de son application de rencontres. La veille, une fuite de données de 400 millions d

Freebox Delta : Bouygues Telecom réclame 170 millions 2019-09-06 05:09:00La filiale du groupe de BTP accuse Free de pratiques commerciales trompeuses sur sa dernière box. Une contre-attaque en réponse à

Facebook : nouvelle fuite de données concernant plus 2019-09-05 06:29:21Les bases de données répertoriaient les identités des utilisateurs, les numéros de téléphone associés

Devoirs de rentrée 2019-09-04 13:00:00Les lynchages de Greta Thunberg et Eric Woerth, les dangers de Zao et FaceApp, les Hongkongais contre la censure... Ca s'est passé cet é

VIDÉO. En Chine, votre visage suffit pour payer 2019-09-04 11:42:01Des nombreuses enseignes chinoises développent un paiement par reconnaissance faciale, un système déjà omniprésent

Protection des données : 170 millions de dollars 2019-09-04 10:32:49Le géant du web est accusé d'avoir enfreint la loi en exposant les enfants à des vidéos inappropriées ou en collec

Mickey montre ses muscles face à Netflix 2019-09-04 05:55:00Disney mise sur son catalogue de super-héros et de Jedi pour tailler des croupières à Netflix. Mais, en Europe, la France et le R

Ars Technica » Gear

Roku updates $29 Express and $99 Ultra players, New! 2019-09-19 09:00:36New shortcut buttons and Roku Zones make it easier to find and access content.

RF Chirp tech: Long distance, incredible penetration, low 2019-09-18 14:05:50Spread-spectrum RF chirps are low-bandwidth—but they go farther than you'd think.

Report: Google Wifi 2 is half Wi-Fi router, 2019-09-18 12:20:50Google's long-rumored combo device will reportedly launch alongside the Pixel 4.

HP debuts Elite Dragonfly 2-in-1 with ultra-light chassis, 2019-09-18 02:00:44Mixing privacy and security features with Ultrabook style—starting at $1,549.

Google Fi gets a cheaper “unlimited” plan, bundled 2019-09-17 13:38:02With the cloud storage, you'll save about $12 over the old Fi unlimited plan.

Google’s next flagship smartphone launches October 15 2019-09-16 16:28:12We'll see the Pixel 4 and probably a bunch of other Google hardware.

Disney CEO Bob Iger resigns from his Apple 2019-09-16 13:18:05The news came in an SEC filing on Friday.

OnePlus’ next flagship smartphone launches September 26 2019-09-16 12:27:43We'll know all about the OnePlus 7T soon, with OnePlus 7T Pro info coming October 10.

Say hello to 802.11ax: Wi-Fi 6 device certification 2019-09-16 12:17:59Wi-Fi 6 is officially here.

XDA-developers’ first look at Google Camera 7, leaked 2019-09-13 17:55:23Vietnamese YouTubers extracted the Camera 7.0 APK from a pre-release Pixel4.

Amazon will announce new hardware on September 25 2019-09-13 14:26:54Amazon hasn't shared details, but new Echo gadgets are likely.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th-gen mini-review: Minor updates made 2019-09-13 12:25:06Lenovo promised 18 hours of battery life, and it delivered with this $1,462 notebook.

TechCrunch » Gadgets

North now offers Focals smart glasses fittings and 2019-09-18 10:36:15North’s Focals smart glasses are the first in the category to even approach mainstream appeal, but to date, the only way to get a pair has been

India bans e-cigarettes citing youth health concerns 2019-09-18 09:14:30India’s government has announced an immediate ban on e-cigarettes — citing youth-focused public health concerns. In a news statement follo

The portable $399 Sonos Move is like having 2019-09-18 09:00:03Sonos has released their first-ever portable speaker with a built-in battery: The $399 Sonos Move, which starts shipping to customers on September 24.

Facebook launches Portal TV, a $149 video chat 2019-09-18 08:01:29Facebook wants to take over your television with a clip-on camera for video calling, AR gaming and content co-watching. If you can get past the creepi

DxOMark’s night and wide-angle camera tests push today’s 2019-09-18 08:01:07Sure, you could take Apple’s word for it that the new iPhone’s cameras are amazing — or you could let some obsessive pixel-peepers p

FarmWise and its weed-pulling agribot harvest $14.5M in 2019-09-17 19:36:18Automating agriculture is a complex proposition given the number and variety of tasks involved, but a number of robotics and autonomy companies are gi

Pax Labs’ Bharat Vasan is out as CEO 2019-09-17 13:30:18Bharat Vasan is no longer the Chief Executive Officer at Pax Labs, the consumer tech company that makes cannabis vaporizers. A source familiar with th

The Sony RX100 VII is the best compact 2019-09-17 08:57:04Sony’s latest advanced compact camera is the highly pocketable RX100 VII, the seventh iteration of the RX100. Since its debut, this line of came

Apple awards another $250 million to precision glass 2019-09-17 08:28:47As part of Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund, Apple is investing $250 million in Corning, a supplier that has been working on glass for the iP

Google is bringing a data-saving feature to Android 2019-09-17 04:52:16Google said on Tuesday it is bringing a set of new features to Android TVs to improve the experience of users who rely on mobile hotspots to connect t

Google will unveil the Pixel 4 and other 2019-09-16 12:24:06Google will reveal the next Pixel in greater detail at an event happening October 15 in New York, the company confirmed via invites sent to media toda

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S6 combines creative flexibility with 2019-09-16 09:35:02The Android tablet market isn’t exactly a hotbed of excitement and activity, which makes it all the more impressive that Samsung continues to it


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.