The next day I encountered a more novel creature in the process of its domestication—a robot being trained by one of its human handlers to navigate the corner of Sixth & Congress in the heart of downtown Austin. It was a food delivery bot, an innovation whose market opportunity the venture capitalists no doubt see as especially promising post-quarantine. It’s crazy how unremarkable this sort of science fictional 21st century scene now is, to find a young robot and its trainer out practicing on the downtown sidewalks, preparing to liberate another category of workers from their drudgery and/or displace them from their work. That the trainer had to lift his bot’s back tire at every turn suggested the machines are not yet as smart as their developers want us to believe. That he had to wear a helmet made me wonder whether that electric mule ever throws its rider.

Hallmark cards from dystopia - by Christopher Brown
from favicon