Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Browse by Decade
Amazonian
More Ads?

Ads

Search
Ads

Amazon Fun

Navigation

Entries in robots (79)

Thursday
Feb142008

Farmer Jones and the Year 2000 (1956)


The Independent Press-Telegram magazine, Southland (Long Beach, CA) dedicated their entire November 4, 1956 issue to "You and the Year 2000." The section about farming appears below.

The most odd scenario depicted is one in which an H-bomb actually makes crops grow better. The entire article by George Serviss, entitled "Anyone for a Garchidrose?" appears below.

Farmer Jones stepped to a small black instrument panel at the rear of the air-conditioned plastic "bubble" in which we sat, my wife seated beside me - I had brought her along to write the woman's angle of this interview with a Year 2000 farm family for "Atomic Life." We had just come up a ray-powered elevator from the family's spacious bomb-and-fungus-proofed, solar-conditioned subsurface quarters. We were surveying his fields.

 

Farmer Jones pressed a button marked "Activator." There was a slight hum and a cylinder rose in the field a few feet beyond the clear plastic wall. A door opened in the cylinder and a robot, closely resembling a 1956 man, stepped jerkily out into the field.

"I must apologize for my hired hand," Farmer Jones said lightly, "Since full parity prices have been removed from our crops, I haven't been able to afford a newer model. But, he has served me well. A couple of new tubes and a paint job will tide him over for another year or two."

Farmer Jones was now operating a small lever that projected from a squarish box that stood up from the floor. The lever seemed to swing around a 360-degree circle and, as I watched, I could see that this was the control for the robot. I turned back to the field to watch development. I'd already asked about the quality of his crops.

The robot moved swiftly now, under Farmer Jones' guidance. "Carrot, perhaps?" queried Farmer Jones. "Or a turnip; perhaps a tomato?" he asked, turning the robot this way and that in the rows that could be seen beyond the plastic. There was very little foliage to mark the rows, produce being grown these days for the edible roots and fruits with a minimum of green waste. Chlorophyll derivative sprays replaced greenery, as I had already observed in my extensive farm and garden writings.

Perhaps we should have a leaf or two of spinach, too," Farmer Jones commented, steering the robot on another course to a green section of the field into which the machine almost totally disappeared, so tall was the vegetation.

"I'll bring the man in now," Farmer Jones said, and guided the robot to a belt conveyor box which projected beyond the bubble. "Haven't been out in the fields since we were H-bombed in the last war," he said. He laughed ruefully, "Don't think it would be healthy," he said, "still 'hot'; but you'd be surprised what that bombing did for the soil. Things grow like crazy; and the robot doesn't mind a bit sowing the seeds and keeping the place up."

The impromptu harvest came tumbling into the bubble - through a radiation trap. Farmer Jones explained. "They're safe to handle now," he said, and pressed a "Deactivator" button that left the robot hired-hand standing at attention. The humming stopped.

The vegetable were all that Farmer Jones had previously boasted that they would be. Carrots three feet long. I took a sample nibble of one; cleaned and completely sanitized by passing through the radiation trap. It was delicious. So was the turnip, four feet in diameter and as tender as butter. I carved a chunk with my electronic pocket incisor and passed it to my wife who has always had a penchant for raw vegetables. She exclaimed with delight at its flavor.

The giant tomato, fully as large as a regulation basketball, gushed red juice of tantalizing aroma when I pricked the skin with my incisor.

The spinach leaves were far larger than palm fronds, but I have persisted in a childhood aversion for this delicacy. I merely examined the leaves for texture.

"No sand," commented Farmer Jones," and the flavor is very similar to lemon squash. All the old-time vitamins, though."

We chatted on crop prospects and the market outlook while Farmer Jones sent his man after a handful of cherries, which were chilled by dry ice in the hands of the robot before they reached us. One apiece was more than enough Farmer Jones asked:

"Would your wife like to have a nice, fresh corsage? I've something new I've just perfected."

He dispatched the robot on another guided errand. The corsage that was deposited on the conveyor belt was, indeed, "something new."

"I call it 'garchidrose'," Farmer Jones said. "I've combined gardenia, orchid and rose in one, together with fern, to grow a complete, multiple-flower corsage on one plant. It does need a bit of ribbon," he apologized, "but I haven't found the way to grow the ribbon yet!" My wife was delighted.

We turned to leave.

"By the way," I said. "These vegetables of yours; they must be very high in vitamin content."

"They are, they are," he said. "Extremely so."

"They you must be a very healthy man," I said.

"Me? Oh no; I never eat them. No roughage for me. I have ulcers. I'm strictly a cottage cheese and pill man, myself."

See also:
Closer Than We Think! Fat Plants and Meat Beets (1958)
Farm to Market (1958)
Robot Farms (1982)
Farm of the Future (1984)
Superfarm of the Year 2020 (1979)
That Synthetic Food of the Future (Ogden Standard-Examiner, 1926)

Tuesday
Feb052008

R.U.R. (1922)


This photograph of the play R.U.R. is courtesy of the Billy Rose Theatre Collection, New York Public Library of Lincoln Center and appears in the book Radical Robots.

See also:
The Robot is a Terrible Creature (1922)
The Mechanical Man of the Future (1928)

Wednesday
Jan302008

Robot Drivers (1985)


The 1985 book The World of Robots contains this image of a future city. Complete with domes, personal transport vehicles and apparently robots at the wheel. The caption to the illustration appears below.

As city life grows more complex and crowded, the need for large-scale control of environment and equipment will demand robotic hands at the helms of trains and boats and planes everywhere.


See also:
Lisa's Picture of 2076 (1976)

 

Sunday
Jan132008

Alpha the Robot (1932)

Wednesday
Jan022008

Little Robots (1933)


This rendition of a robot from the comic Tillie the Toiler ran in the October 16, 1933 Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI).

See also:
Mammy vs Robot (Charleston Gazette, 1937)
Donald Duck's "Modern Inventions" (1937)

Tuesday
Dec112007

Our Dread of Robots (1932)

The September 27, 1932 Ruston Daily Leader (Ruston, Louisiana) ran a cautionary editorial about an inventor who was supposedly shot by his own robot. From the late 1920s until the late 1930s you can find countless news articles of the wondrous feats robots were supposed to have performed.

The uneasy feelings we had about automation and mechanization are articulated quite well by the editorial. The end of the piece is accurate in stating, "Machinery has created a revolution in our life. The wage-earner, the farmer, the soldier, the merchant, the politician, the schoolmaster, the printer - all of us, in every moment of our lives, live differently than our ancestors lived because of the constant increase in the mechanization of society."

The entire editorial appears below.

A fable that has held the attention of writers for more than a century came very close to coming true not long ago.

 

An English inventor had built a big steel "robot," or mechanical man, which was operated by wireless. At a word of command the robot would do various things, including fire a revolver at a target. And one day, when the inventor was just about to give the command, the robot unexpectedly raised the gun and fired, shooting the inventor in the hand.

"I always had the feeling that he would turn on me some day," the inventor remarked afterward. "I don't know why he fired before I gave the signal."

Ever since Mrs. Shelley wrote about Frankenstein, who made a mechanical man which got out of his control, this motion of an automatic, lifeless man created out of machinery has attracted writers; and the writer who handles it nearly always has his mechanical man, at last, go on a rampage and start destroying things.

Indeed, fable has become the modern ghost story. We don't shudder over tales of spooks and haunts the way our fathers did, but we can always get cold chills by thinking about a steel monster that goes about with no brain or heart to control it. We find it more horrifying to think of a body without a soul than to think of a soul without a body. Furthermore, we find it easier to believe in such a thing.

And now, apparently, it has happened. Life has imitated art once more. A robot has shot its master.

A psychologist could probably make a good deal of this fascinating dread of ours for mechanical monsters. Machinery has created a revolution in our life. The wage-earner, the farmer, the soldier, the merchant, the politician, the schoolmaster, the printer - all of us, in every moment of our lives, live differently than our ancestors lived because of the constant increase in the mechanization of society.


See also:
The Mechanical Man of the Future (1928)
"I Can Whip Any Mechanical Robot" by Jack Dempsey (1930s)
Robots vs. Musicians (1931)
The Robot is a Terrible Creature (1922)
Gigantic Robots to Fight Our Battles (Fresno Bee, 1934)
Mammy vs. Robot (Charleston Gazette, 1937)
Restaurant Robots (1931)
Donald Duck's "Modern Inventions" (1937)
All's Fair at the Fair (1938)

 

Monday
Dec032007

Robo-Shop (1989)

The December 11, 1989 Post Standard (Syracuse, NY) ran this piece about Jean Du Teau and his newly opened robotics store, Robot World. Du Teau appears immensely optimistic about the future of personal robots. "Robots are today where computers were 10 years ago," he said. "Most people perceive that the robotic age is going to happen in the year 2000. The robotic age is here." The full article appears below.


See also:
In a Cashless Future, Robots Will Cook (1996)
The Future of Personal Robots (1986)
Japanese Retail Robots (1986)