Robots stir some mixed emotions in me.
On one hand, you have “The Jetsons” robot maid Rosie. Yeah, she was a little snarky, but dang if she wasn’t a near perfect lady to have around the house.
On the other hand, you have robots like the Terminator and the ones that took over the mall in the 1986 classic film, “Chopping Mall.” They were terrifying, but honestly, that might be the best awful movie you could ever rent on VHS.
Tuesday I spent some time hanging out with some folks building robots as Team ViGIR debuted its robot, Florian, that it plans to use in the DARPA Robotics Challenge later this month in Homestead, Florida.
After about three hours, the group of enginners finally managed to get the robot to walk up a ramp for the crowd and drill a hole in a board.
So I’ve got some bad news. We’re not anywhere close to getting robot maids. I’m sorry.
But it seems we’re also not anywhere close to getting trapped in Dick’s Sporting Goods and hunted down by laser wielding monsters. So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.
There’s also some even better news for you and me.
As it turns out, we’re pretty freaking special and extremely hard to duplicate. I mean, these were some of the smartest people I’ve ever been around. They’d been working with this robot since June and on the computer programing behind it far longer than that, and again, it took all afternoon to get up that ramp.
Now don’t get me wrong, that’s not to slight them in the least. These dudes are brilliant and at the top of the robotics game, but one of their leader’s admitted to me that getting a robot to simply hold a can of soda, without either crushing it or dropping it, was extremely difficult.
Lord only knows how many cans of Mt. Dew fifth-grade Travis could have thrown back in those three hours this afternoon. I’d put the under/over on that at a 12-pack and probably take the over.
A lot of times it’s easy for us to overlook what awesome creations we are and even easier to overlook how awesome our creator is. Not only can we drink cans of soda, we even have the capability to decide which flavor to drink and the sense to know when we’ve reached the age it’s time to switch to diet.
It took almost six months for some of the smartest guys I know to get that robot to drill a hole.
It took God one day to make man, and at the end of the day, God decided his creation was so good, he decided to take Saturday off to chill. (Coincidence that we most often play college football on this day? I think not.)
God made us amazing beings who capable of feats even our smartest folks can’t come close in duplicating.
Let’s try not to forget awesome that is and how awesome our creator is.