I’m in the garden a lot these days – so many small tasks to do that it adds up to hours and hours, spent with pleasure of course. One task I don’t have to do any more is mowing the grass, for it has recently been automated. A robot we lovingly but unoriginally named Robby is cutting our grass as we speak, and the garden hasn’t looked so neat in ages. Not showcase-neat or garden-contest neat, but the contrast between luxuriantly filled borders and grass cropped short on a bi-daily basis is pleasant.

The idea of robot power brings back the books by Asimov, and this in turn inspired me to fantasise about robot-cut hedges (using drones) and a robot butler opening the front door so I can continue lounging. Asimov did have a message: what do we do with ourselves once robot labour freed us from work? In general, we spend our time on a. doing things better or b. doing more things. I’m told that if we went back to the standard of living we had in the ’70 – and believe me, I was there and it wasn’t half bad – we could go for a 3-day working week. Nice!


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