Robots, Robots, Robot Housekeeping
Robots, robots, robots!
Robots are coming.
The idea that we will have automated cleaning by 2020 is nothing new.
A lot of people have been dreaming about it.
In the early 1990s, when there were no robot maids or cleaning robots, I wrote an article for Salon about robots taking over home care.
There was talk of replacing the human workforce with robots.
We’ve been talking about that ever since.
Today, robots are starting to take over home cleaning for us, and there is a growing consensus that it will happen sooner than we think.
Robots will be doing more of our jobs than we can handle.
Robots have the capacity to perform tasks that we are not trained to do, to do that we need to pay for.
We can’t afford to let robots do the work we have done and do it for free, because we are paying them a price.
I have no illusions that the robots will do the job well, but they will be better than we are, better at the jobs we need them to do.
In a sense, robots will be replacing us.
There will be a new kind of housekeeping that is less about making us feel better, less about putting up with the human misery of doing it.
And, yes, we’ll be cleaning less.
We’ll be doing less cleaning and, in fact, we won’t be cleaning as much as we used to.
But we will be cleaning at least a little bit more often.
I’ve been a home-cleaner for more than 15 years.
It’s hard for me to imagine what will replace me.
And even though I love cleaning, I’ve noticed a shift in my life.
I can’t stop thinking about cleaning.
My wife and I have to do so much cleaning.
I feel like a different person every time I take out the trash.
I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to make it through this job.
The fact that I’m not cleaning is part of the challenge, because I have a family to feed.
The challenge of caring for someone else is not the same as caring for myself.
It seems so far-fetched to me.
But there is an emerging consensus among experts that robots will help us be better homekeepers.
And the consensus is, we will do better.
As the technology improves, we can expect more robots to take on more tasks.
That will require less human interaction and, eventually, less human care.
We will do more housekeeping for ourselves, but also for others.
Robots are the new cleaners.
They’re just starting to figure it out.
If we want robots to do more of what we do, we need people who can handle their own jobs.
This is a very different set of challenges from the problems we face as a nation.
We have a lot of work to do in education, health care, housing, and education.
We also need to figure how to address the root causes of these problems.
We don’t have enough experts to talk about these issues.
We’re not having these conversations because the technology is there, the experts are there, and the data is available.
But it’s going to take some time for us to figure this out.
What will robots do?
What will we do differently when we have robots?
I don’t know.
But I do know one thing: It’s going a long way toward cleaning up the house.
There is nothing in the book about the future of home cleaning.
But, like many other authors who have written about home cleaning, and like myself, I believe that home cleaning is on the verge of transformation.
We are entering an era of home automation, where we will see a surge in automation of all kinds.
We may not be robots, but we will still be cleaning.
And we’ll do it better.