13 things Apple should automate after driverless cars | Technology

Apple is working on a self-driving car, but according to chief executive Tim Cook, “autonomy is sort of the mother of all AI projects” and that “a vehicle is only one” use for autonomous systems, which got us thinking: what other things would we want automated?

Cook made the comments during an earnings call last night, and said that Apple was “very focused on autonomous systems from a core technology point of view” and that the company does “have large project going, and [it is] making a big investment in this”.

So once autonomous cars are sorted and our transport and commuting lives have been transformed for the better, what’s the next thing Apple should focus on in our never ending efforts to end up like the people from Wall-E?

1) Shopping (and not just to your door)

Filling your fridge every week is a chore we can do without. Photograph: Voisin / Phanie/Rex Features

No many people really like doing the mundane grocery shopping. Sure, there are semi-automated systems that can order food for you, and it’ll get delivered to your door if you happen to be in for the designated time slots, but what if your fridge could not only order food, but be filled automatically?

A never-ending supply of food in your fridge? Make it happen, Apple.

2) Exercise

woman yawning

Exercise doesn’t need to be so tiring. Photograph: PeopleImages/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Exercise is crucial for human health, at least in some ways, but it’s always such a chore. Why not automate it? Perhaps a robotic suit you strap on that moves you by stimulating your muscles while you can nod off safe in the knowledge that once you wake up feeling refreshed from your little nap you will have done your five-mile run and 30-minute circuit session.

3) Socialising


That could be a robot you on the right, while the real you is tucked up at home watching the latest episode of Top of the Lake. Photograph: AzmanL/Getty Images

Who has time to really socialise anymore, what with Game of Thrones on the TV, longer and longer commutes and working all hours thanks to the endless scourge of email (more on that later)? But you don’t want to miss out on those big nights out with the ladies or those pampered trips to the spa with the lads – how else are you going to find out the latest gossip?

How about an android version of you attends in your place? Keeping up with your hectic social calendar will never have been so easy.

4) Cooking

robot waiters

Clearly there is some progress to be made in the robot chef department. Photograph: ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

There’s cooking for pleasure, and there’s cooking simply because you’ve got to eat. Why not have a robot chef do it for you instead of reaching for the microwave meal? It can raid your fridge, balance your meals, have dinner on the table when you get in from work and do the washing up once done.

5) Eating

morgan spurlock in supersize me

Chewing is such a drag. Photograph: Rex Features

For those times when eating is just for sustenance, or you simply can’t be bothered to chew, why not have a robot to do it for you and take the pain out of mastication?

6) Answering emails

worried man looking at a laptop

Save us all from the never-ending scourge of email. Please. Photograph: izusek/Getty Images

Automation might take all our jobs in the long run, but in the short term, can we please automate the scourge of emails? They’re necessary in many instances, but why do we have to write them, or even read them? Why not automate the whole process. Facebook’s been working on negotiation bots, and Google has auto-reply suggestions in Gmail, so an automated email reality can’t be far off.

7) Raising children

robot with a child

Robots could be your child’s best friend, while you take a break. Photograph: Dr Patricia Shaw, Aberystwyth University/EPSRC Photography Competition

We love the little sprogs, but caring for them 24/7 is such a drain on the social life. Why not take the pain out of those night feeds and nappy changing? Could a machine get your kids to brush their teeth morning and night without arguments? Or even read them a story so you can enjoy Monday night football in peace?

They might wake up with coldness in their hearts, but at least the parents would get more sleep.

8) Doing your taxes

tax assessment

Because tax doesn’t have to be taxing … if a robot does it for you. Photograph: Fairfax Media/Getty Images

There’s not much to argue about this. No one likes doing their taxes. So many forms, receipts and dodgy work arounds to try and claw back as much from the government as possible. Sure, you can pay an accountant to do it for you, but you still have to collect and send all those little scraps of paper the tills spit out. A robot – one you control, not the government – is clearly the answer.

9) Writing Facebook status updates

facebook status update on a phone

Oops, better make that fifth status update of the day to prove I’m not dead, yet. Photograph: Lauren Hurley/PA

In today’s social media-obsessed world, if you’re not posting amazingly funny, enviable or downright riotous status update at least 10 times a day you’re practically not living. But who has time to do all that? Take the pain out of it, won’t you Apple?

10) Reading Facebook status updates

facebook like

Gotta like ‘em all. Ugh. Photograph: Newscast/REX/Shutterstock

Ugh. Facebook’s all just-not-funny one-liners after epically boring look-at-me aren’t-I-better-than-you posts these days. Who’s got time to look at them all? But if you don’t react with at the bare-minimum a like or thumbs up to every post, your friends think you hate them. So tedious. If only there was a way for a machine to do it all for us.

11) Selfie-bot

ninebot robot

Why not have a robotic cameraman follow you around for that perfect selfie any time, any place. Photograph: Ninebot

Another modern chore that seriously needs automating is the taking of selfies. It’s impossible to get that perfect angle, that perfect look and that perfect pose, all while holding your way-too-big phone above your head and struggling to hit the button. If only there was a robot that could do it for you – your personal photographer to follow you around all day to make you look like an Instagram superstar.

Maybe then artworks would be safe.

12) Cleaning

dyson 360 eye

Robot vacuums are a step in the right direction, but what about the rest of the house? Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

We’ve already made progress in cleaning automation. Robots can now take care of the vacuuming and the windows but that still leaves the bathroom, the sinks, the taps, the showers, the kitchen surfaces, the toilets, the bed clothes, the washing … the list goes on.

Where’s the do-it-all cleaning robot that’ll keep your home spotless like the show-home catalogues while you can get on and make the mess that starts the cycle all over again? Free us from the tyranny of domestic chores!

13) Personal hygiene

brushing teeth

Automate this. Photograph: Medicimage/UIG/REX

Most people like being clean. Not many actually enjoy the process. All that shaving, tooth brushing, showering, hair washing and nail clipping – it’s all such a massive workup. Imagine how much time and effort you could save if all that was done while you were asleep?

Go to bed stinking and wake up clean and sparkling, ready to go back to your machine-transported slumber and into your automated exercise routine.

Anything else you would like to see automated? Please add your suggestions in the comments …

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