Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Terminator could be mowing a lawn near you

I’ve always been slightly disappointed in the lack of technological progress in the world. Sure, we now have portable telephones that also take pictures, record videos, play music, light fires, open cans and change flat tires. Essentially, we have Swiss Army Phones. But what I really wanted and expected by the year 2000, let alone 2005, is the flying car, or individual jet packs, or robot servants who cater to our every whim.

Given how high gas prices are I doubt we’re going to see flying cars anytime soon. And engineers are still working out the kinks on the jet packs. But the latest in robot technology is here to make all of our lives easier. It’s the Electrolux Automower.

According to an article by the Bucks Free Press in the United Kingdom, “the Electrolux Automower which Electrolux says is a robotic lawnmower that fertilizes as it grazes. The Automower is designed to save time and make life easier. Once the boundaries of a lawn are set with a perimeter wire system, Automower can wander off on its own continuously munching away, rain or shine, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, recharging itself as needed. The short clippings from the Automower drop back into the lawn, helping to return moisture and nutrients to the grass.”

Still I can’t help but worry. Technology running amuck is a constant theme in many of my favorite Hollywood movies. The Terminator. The Matrix. I, Robot. (Well, I, Robot was OK, but not really a favorite.) In each of these movies, man’s downfall is caused by technology going too far, giving machines too much power, and allowing them to take over the world.

I can see it now. The robot lawnmowers conspiring against us. First your lawn. Then the world.

So until we also have flying cars and jet packs, I’ll just hold off on the robot lawnmowers too, and leave the job up to the talented, human professionals in the Green Industry.

— Mike Seuffert

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