“It’s just a robot. Why are you so excited about it?” asked his wife Emily.
“You must be a scientist to appreciate the uniqueness of this robot. If you do not want to learn about the intricacies of making it, look at the features. They should overwhelm you. It wakes you up in the morning and listens to you to perform tasks on its own. It can make coffee and breakfast for you. It records the 360-degree video around it for the whole day in a distant server in the cloud. We can access it any time and check the footage as necessary. It has advanced voice recognition technology. It can distinguish strangers from relatives. And, it has temperature sensors using which it automatically adjusts the heat in the house. We need not be worried about anything. It keeps tracking our weight and other obvious health factors regularly and lets us know of any anomalies. It’s like having a cook, a doctor, and a security person – all in one small robot that also entertains you. And, no one other than us can extract information from it,” explained Ralph.
Though her mother warned her not to get hitched to a scientist, she fell in love and married a scientist. She wondered if she had to repent for it.
Ralph and Emily got used to the new robot in their house for the next few weeks. They named the robot, Bob, after creatively exploring many ideas for a suitable name.
Slowly and steadily, Bob became an integral part of their life cycle. Bob was very efficient and helped Ralph and Emily with many tasks.
As Bob took care of all the major cooking and household chores, they had a lot of time at their expense now. Initially, they used their time to do some useful work such as reading, learning, exercising and spending quality time with each other.
After a month, they spent lesser time on exercising and more time in front of the TV. When they were not watching TV, Ralph was actively playing games on his laptop, mobile phone, or iPad and Emily would be busy chatting with her friends on her phone or do some online shopping.
After two months, Ralph and Emily forgot completely about reading and tried to find new ways to make best use of Bob to finish some of their other tasks.
Ralph was proud that his invention made things better by the day.
And, then, a series of events happened that troubled them.
Ralph and Emily began arguing when they needed the help of Bob at the same time. After some bickering, they decided that they would plan Bob’s activities so that both their tasks get done.
Later, one day, Emily decided to cook something for Ralph. She made his favorite Lasagna. She lost touch of cooking and could not do it so well. Though he did not comment anything initially and ate it without complaining, he said something later that irked Emily.
Ralph said, “Bob would have made it so good. Let’s ask him to do most of the cooking tomorrow. All you need to do is upload the recipe into the system and share with his input processor.”
Emily did not want to share her recipe with Bob as she wanted to keep the advantage with her.
The next day Ralph was not happy to see Emily cooking again.
Ralph asked her, “Why do you spend time cooking when Bob can get most of it done? Let him do it. Let us enjoy our time.”
Emily said, “I want to cook for you. That’s my way of showing love to you. Why would I want Bob to cook when I have the time to do it?”
They argued for a while on this topic as Ralph thought she was not utilizing his invention to the full scale.
The next day, Emily browsed the footage from Bob’s recordings to see how effective it was. She was pretty impressed with the recorded videos. She tried to randomly check some videos.
In one of the recorded videos, she saw Ralph smoking in the garden. She search more videos with the smoke tag and found that he did it more often.
Emily shouted to Ralph, “You promised me you would never smoke again. But, here, I see more videos of your smoking. You were smoking almost daily two months ago.”
Ralph tried to explain by saying, “Yes. I promised. But, you need to understand that it is not possible to kill a habit in a day. If you check the later videos, I have reduced the number of times over the last few months. I smoked everyday for a few minutes in the first month. The second month I smoked thrice a week. Last month, I smoked twice a week. If you can check the videos, you will note that I am smoking only once every week. This is a regimen proposed by some well-planned Internet program.”
Though he reduced smoking, she could not appreciate the idea that he did not live up to his promise. They both fought on this topic for more than an hour.
Emily wanted to design some clothes for a long time. She thought that she could use Bob’s help for some sewing and knitting. She thought she would draw some ideas and ask Bob to knit the clothes based on the instructions available on the Internet.
Ralph walked in and noticed that Bob was knitting clothes. Ralph’s activities got postponed by a few hours because of this. Ralph just needed a beer from the refrigerator. He waited for nearly an hour. When he noticed that the item was still in the queue, he walked in to their bedroom to find Bob busily knitting. Ralph immediately aborted the operation just a few minutes before Bob should have been done with knitting the cloth completely.
Ralph included knitting and sewing into the list of activities that require his approval before Bob starts doing them. Emily did not like the way in which Ralph intervened in this. They fought over this topic for almost an entire day. Emily felt bad that Ralph had no regard for her creative ideas or her aspirations. She gave up her career for him because he was a scientist and needed someone at home to help him out with his inventions. While she helped him with his aspirations and ambitions, she felt bad that he never reciprocated it.
Ralph had no issue with her aspirations. But, he did not like the way she used Bob to get her done. He felt that she should be doing the knitting work if she wanted to get into the fashion designing business. He considered it to be cheating to seek the services of a robot. She argued saying that machines are meant to make things easier for all of us. Finally, she fought with him and bought an advanced tailoring machine on the Internet to suit her needs. He did not like that idea and they both fought over the idea for a long time.
Emily decided that she needed a break from the fights and decided to go stay with her parents for the weekend. While she was at her parents house, she wondered if Ralph missed her.
Emily logged into the live recording view of Bob from her parents’ house to check what Ralph was doing. Ralph invited his friends over for drinks and was having a great time. She did not appreciate the situation and the discussions they were having as part of their drink party. She immediately drove to their house and stopped the party. Ralph felt furious and they fought badly.
They did not realize that the availability of technology aided to their growing distance.
Over the next few months, Ralph and Emily fought regularly. Earlier, when they fought, they would forget and get back to each other. But, now, Bob is programmed to remind each other about the tasks that make the other one angry. Initially, they used this feature to not do the things that infuriated the other. However, as they fought more, each one of them made it a point to do things that infuriate the other.
Ralph’s friend invited them to his wedding in another town. Ralph had to leave Bob at home during this time. Surprisingly, for both of them, they had a great time for the entire week. After talking about it, they realized that they relied too much on Bob and that worsened their relationship to a great extent.
Once they returned, they reduced the scope of tasks to be performed by Bob. The number of fights came down for some time.