Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Something must be wrong with its radar eye! (Chicago Tribune, 1959)

Part two of the September 13, 1959 Chicago Tribune article Call a Serviceman: This Cry Will Still Be Heard in Year 2000 offers more paleo-future goodness. To bring you up to speed, our housewife of the future has just heard the yelps of her poodle Fifi as it is being attacked by the futuristic vacuum cleaner.

By the time I'm back in the house, the cleaner, having finished its job on Fifi, has scooted back to its cubbyhole in the baseboard.

"I think," my daughter says, "you'd better call a service man."

The vidiphone (telephone combined with television) signals for attention. A neighbor's face comes into view. Scowling, she says, "Your lawnmower is cutting all the flowers in my garden!"

"O, dear! Something must be wrong with its radar eye!"

"Yes," my neighbor agrees. "It needs glasses!"

I call a service man. It seems the logical thing to do. Afterwards, I sink into a chair and pick up a book.

A door slams and my son comes in, announcing, "I'm hungry."

"I'll get something," my daughter volunteers. (That's what's so wonderful about the pushbutton age - everyone is willing to help with the work.) "We'll have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches," she proclaims, pushing a button.

We wait, nervously, while the electronic-brain goes to work.

Guess what - peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! Only, instead of serving them on plates, the electronic brain tosses the sandwiches upward. They land on the ceiling.

Stay tuned for part three of this riveting tale of domesticity.

See also:
Call a Serviceman (Chicago Tribune, 1959)


Paul M. Cray said...

Building a reliable robot vacuum cleaner that doesn't take a fancy to Fifi is close to an A(G)I-hard problem (although they can be bought today), but the amount of intellectual effort that has gone into making technology that doesn't break or go wrong in unexpected ways over the last 48 years is one of the lessons of this article.

ReallyEvilCanine said...

We already have automatic vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers even if they don't disappear behind the baseboards รก la the gadgets Daffy Duck installed in Design for Leaving. We're still waiting for the foodarackacycle.