Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"The answer to the problem of information overload on the Net is reputations… engineer a system called a reputation server."
- Neal Stephenson

Consumption Robots  
  Humanoid robots placed in the position of consuming material goods to relieve human beings of the burden.  

In The Midas Plague, people were obligated to consume. By consuming more and more, you could graduate to higher levels of society, where you might actually have fewer things and more time to yourself.

Or, you could get robots to do your consumption for you.

There was the butler robot, hard at work, his copper face expressionless. Dressed in Morey's own sports knickers and golfing shoes, the robot solemnly hit a ball against the wall, picked it up and teed it, hit it again, over and again, with Morey's own clubs. Until the ball wore ragged and was replaced: and the shafts of the clubs leaned out of true; and the close-stitched seams of the clothing began to stretch and abrade.

“My God!” said Morey hollowly.

There were the maid-robots, exquisitely dressed in Cherry’s best, walking up and down in the delicate, slim shoes, sitting and rising and bending and turning. The cook-robots and the serving-robots were preparing dionysian meals.

Morey swallowed. “You—you’ve been doing this right along,” he said to Henry. “That’s why the quotas have been filled.”

“Oh, yes, sir. Just as you told us.”

Morey had to sit down. One of the serving-robots politely scurried over with a chair, brought from upstairs for their new chores.

Waste.

Morey tasted the word between his lips.

Waste.

You never wasted things. You used them. If necessary, you drove yourself to the edge of breakdown to use them; you made every breath a burden and every hour a torment to use them, until through diligent consuming and/or occupational merit, you were promoted to the next higher class, and were allowed to consume less frantically. But you didn’t wantonly destroy or throw out. You consumed.

Morey thought fearfully: When the Board finds out about this…

Still, he reminded himself, the Board hadn’t found out. It might take some time before they did, for humans, after all, never entered robot quarters. There was no law against it, not even a sacrosanct custom. But there was no reason to. When breaks occurred, which was infrequently, maintenance robots or repair squads came in and put them back in order. Usually the humans involved didn’t even know it had happened, because the robots used their own TBR radio circuits and the process was next thing to automatic.

From The Midas Plague, by Frederik Pohl.
Published by Galaxy in 1954
Additional resources -

Here's an illustration taken from the original publication of the story in Galaxy.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 1 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Midas Plague
  More Ideas and Technology by Frederik Pohl
  Tech news articles related to The Midas Plague
  Tech news articles related to works by Frederik Pohl

Consumption Robots-related news articles:
  - PETMAN Robot Video Shows Non-Human Origin
  - Belvedere The Robot Butler
  - Ping Pong Robot Analyzes Own Game
  - PETMAN Bipedal Robot Tests Your Future
  - PETMAN Robot Video
  - Qrio Robot Golfer
  - HERB Home Exploring Robot Butler
  - Pet-Proto Robot Video Stops Bad Terminator Dreams
  - PETMAN Robot Marches On
  - Petman Robot Pushes Itself To The Limit
  - Golf Robot Putts Out
  - Kuka Robots Mastering Tennis Now

Articles related to Robotics
Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

SWEEPER Robot Peter Piper Picking Peppers
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant, apparently on caterpillar tracks, cutting off the ripe fruit.'

Oil from Algae - Can It Be Done?
'We dump everything that's waste into the tanks, pump the oil off the top.'

Moving Whole Planets, Revisited
There was a lot of work done on this idea over the years.

Disney Keeps Backups Of Star Wars Franchise Actors
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents...'

Farming In Space Starts With Mycorrhiza
'The inner leaves were beginning to curl faster than the outer leaves.'

Jaguar I-Pace Audible Vehicle Alert System For EVs
'Of course not a vehicle moved by means of internal explosions of a derivative of rock oil...'

Autonomous 'Fiberbots' Weave Large Structures
'It extrudes material like a spider.'

Birds Aren't Real - Wake Up, California! (With Bird Watching Guide)
'When he had first built them, they had been crude indeed, flying mechanisms with little more than a reflex-response unit.'

Self-Healing Material Pulls Carbon Out Of The Air
'... could seal the punctures.'

IRL Glasses Block Screens, Limit Vision To Real Life
'If you couldn't see the ads, how would you know what was fashionable?'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.