We can debate lots of things, like which is better – Snickers or Milky Way (for the record, obviously Snickers). Some things are just set in stone, like the fact that robots will soon be our overlords. No debate there, but what we can debate is who the robots will destroy first.
Spoiler Alert – Parents, well, you have had a nice run.
As I walked the show floor at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, I made it my mission to determine who the robots were gunning for first. The good news? Our kids look safe…for now.
It seems the robots want to track and collect data on our young, active kids.
Devices to Track Everything
CES2017 was chuck full of every type of health and fitness tracking device you could imagine. Heart rate, blood pressure, steps, breathing, mental capacity, sleep levels, caloric intake and yes, even sperm count (see Trak) are all being tracked and analyzed by endless Bluetooth connected devices.
It seems clear the robots need to compile more data on our young and active kids before they enslave them, so they are safe for now.
The story for us Moms and Dads…a little more bleak. Let me now lay out all the things we do as parents and then show how gadgets at CES will replace what we do…
We Teach Our Kids…
Really??? How nostalgic of you! For years apps, computers, phones and tablets have been teaching our kids. Khan Academy can explain things far better than you.
Oh, you can speak 3 languages? That is impressive…for a human. Google Translate speaks 103 languages and serves over 200 million people a day.
Can you really explain how a plane flies and a giant cruise ship doesn’t sink? Can you do it with animations, charts and videos? Google can.
Honestly, I didn’t need CES to teach me this one, our role as teachers to our kids was outsourced to computers and gadgets years ago.
We Comfort Our Kids and Read Them Bedtime Stories…
We gently sing our little ones to sleep, tell them a bedtime story and come rushing to their rescue when they wake up scared in the middle of the night. Clearly no gadget will ever take our place in the nursery – right?
Aristotle by Mattel is a voice and camera activated smart speaker and light that can hear and see when a baby is fusing and shower your little one with soothing sounds and sleep inducing lights. Once your little one is old enough to say, “Aristotle, tell me a bedtime story” – you are toast. Aristotle tells a story with professional voice actors, sounds effects and even a light show to match the story.
While the Aristotle can’t move around, the 5E Nanny Bot sure can. Yep, a Nanny Robot, to do all those human things we used to do.
We take Our Children on Eye Opening, Life Affirming Trips and Travel…
Have you taken them to the top of Mount Everest? How about inside an active volcano? Been to the moon with them yet? If your kids have a VR headset, they have probably been to all these places and more.
With virtual reality headsets like Oculus Rift, Samsung Oculus Gear VR, HTC Vive, Pico Neo CV, Moon by Royole, Google Cardboard and about a hundred other ones, the kids can put on a virtual reality headset and instantly be transported to anywhere in the world and beyond. No passport, no waiting in TSA lines and definitely no parents needed.
We Drive Our Kids to Soccer Practice, Play Dates and Everywhere Else…
If it makes you feel better, you probably have 2-3 years more of driving your kids around, asking them questions about their day and having them respond with different pitches of grunts.
All the major car manufacturers were showing off self driving car technology that is slated to hit the mainstream by 2020. As a bonus, maybe these self driving cars will have mind reading capabilities so the car can tell you how the kid’s day went.
The Kids Would Starve Without Me, I Do All The Cooking…
If I had a dime for every connected kitchen appliance I saw at CES, I could afford to buy a helmet to stop the robots from eating my brain.
Fridges can tell when they are running low on food and reorder for you.
Stoves know exactly how long to cook a meal and can even get it started before you get home.
Whirlpool’s Scan to Cook will let the kids scan that frozen pizza and the connected oven starts heating up to just the perfect temperature.
Kids needs some help getting going in the morning? This Barista robot from Bubble Labs will make a cup of coffee.
There is even this giant machine to make your kids their OJ…
If I am Not Around Who Well Take Adorable Photos of the Kids and Post them To Facebook…
The Dobby Pocket Drone or the Hover Camera or the Yuneec Breeze 4K. There were endless Selfie Drones at CES, they take photos and videos, auto track your kids as they move and even upload to Facebook.
Only I Can Teach The Kids To Speak With Confidence and Passion…
Here is something you feel like you have over those cold, emotionless robots. Only human voices can express passion, power, confidence and emotion. Parents need to be around to teach our kids how to speak with confidence, passion and desire.
Wow, that idea is so 2016. Kids will be able to use VoiceVibes, a cloud based public speaking practice tool to get just the right amount of compassion and confidence in their voice…to convince the robots not to eat their brains.
Who Would Clean Up After My Messy Kids If I Was Gone…
Come on, this is a layup for the robots. Roomba was just the start. Now there are robots that not only vacuum, but they sweep, dust, clean windows and even this one – that cleans up poop from your backyard.
Fine, But There Is No Way My Kids Are Folding Laundry If I’m Gone…
Well, My Cat Still Needs Me To Feed Her…
You? The forgetful one who wakes up at 3am, shakes your spouse and says “did you feed the cat today?” No, your cat will do just find with the CatsPad – smart cat feeder.
My Kids Would Run Wild Without Me To Dish Out The Punishment When Needed…
Sorry, but you are soft. They look at you with that cute, I’m sorry face and you melt. Pavlock doesn’t have this problem. The kids wear this electroshock watch, every time they do something wrong, they get a shock. It can be automatic – on the computer after 10pm – BAMM – you get a shock.
I wish I could say I was joking about this one…I’m not.
But How Would My Kids Know When to Brush Their Teeth, Do Their Homework or Go To Bed?…
They would simply glance at their Octopus Watch. The kids don’t even need to know how to read, the Octopus just shows large Icons. See a large toothbrush, time to brush your teeth. See a Bed, time to hit the sack.
Combine this with the Pavlock on the other wrist and you have the ultimate positive/negative reinforcement combo.
Wait, Who Would Pay For All This?
Ah, you may have just found your get out of robot brain imprisonment jail free card. As hard as we searched at CES, we did not find a robot or gadget that printed money.
So maybe the robots will keep us around for a while, you know, to pay for things…hmm these robots are starting to sound like my kids.