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"I do think there is a link in that in both cases, writing fiction or writing a computer program, at any given moment you're focusing on a very specific and particular thing—one word, one line of code, whatever."
- Neal Stephenson

Garbage Device  
  Autonomous garbage collection device.  

Very handy - like a more motivated Roomba.

"Gripes," he said, "tell me something. What would you do, right now, if you were me?"
The joymaker answered without hesitation, as though that sort of question were coming up every day. "If I were you, Man Forrester, which is to say, if I were human, just unfrozen, without accommodations, lacking major social contacts, unemployed, unskilled—"
"That's the picture, all right," Forrester agreed. "So answer the question."
Something was crawling underfoot. He stepped aside, out of its way, a glittering metal thing.
"I would go to a tea shop, Man Forrester. I would then read my orientation book while enjoying a light meal. I would then think things over. I would then—"
"That's far enough."
The metal thing, apparently espying Forrester's discarded cigarette pack, scuttled over to it and gobbled it down. Forrester watched it for a second, then nodded. "You've got some good ideas, machine," he said. "Take me to a tea shop!"
Technovelgy from The Age of The Pussyfoot, by Frederik Pohl.
Published by Ballantine in 1966
Additional resources -

Compare to the to the high tech trash can from Islands in the Net (1988) by Bruce Sterling and the Robot Trash Collectors from The Velvet Glove (1956), by Harry Harrison

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Age of The Pussyfoot
  More Ideas and Technology by Frederik Pohl
  Tech news articles related to The Age of The Pussyfoot
  Tech news articles related to works by Frederik Pohl

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Science Fiction in the News

SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
'Provision had been made to meet the terrific cold which we knew would be encountered the moment we had passed beyond the atmosphere.'

Athena Smart Security Guard Robot With Face Recognition
'You are who we say you are, Dr. Dakin,' Turner said.'

The FLUTE Project - A Huge Liquid Mirror In Space
'It's area, and its consequent light-gathering capacity, was many times greater than any rigid mirror...'

Robot Preachers Found To Undermine Religious Commitment
'Tell me your torments,' the Padre said, in an elderly voice marked with compassion.

CyberCab - Tesla Renames The Robotaxi
'A cybercab dogged their heels...'

SpaceHopper Microgravity Robot Lands On Its Feet
'...a slender-legged tripod surmounted by a spherical body no larger than a football.'

Brin's 1990 Novel Earth Still Full Of Predictions
'... making the point that their likenesses, every move they made, were being transmitted.'

Gaia - Why Stop With Just The Earth?
'But the stars are only atoms in larger space, and in that larger space the star-atoms could combine to form living matter, thinking matter, couldn't they?'

Microsoft VASA-1 Creates Personal Video From A Photo
'...to build up a video picture would require, say, ten million decisions every second. Mike, you're so fast I can't even think about it. But you aren't that fast.'

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