The news is full of stories of how the next generation of telepresence robots are eliminating business expenses and making collaboration more practical across time zones, but those stories are missing the point. Robots are cool.
Ask any six-year-old what they would do with a robot and you will get a more reasonable assessment of their cultural potential. Here are 3 things that you could (and should) be doing with your own telepresence robot right now.
Fixing your putt – Your father-in-law is flying in from Phoenix this weekend and he’s heard all about your golf game. In reality, your putting style looks like Michelle Wie, but you’ve never broken 200. In fact, if you switched your bowling and golf scores, you’d be doing all right. The problem is that your private golf tutor is pitching screenplays at a retreat in Chula Vista this month. What do you do? Bring your telepresence robot with you on the green and grab a remote stance analysis on the fly. It’s certain to make an impression.
Giving the gift of you – What do you buy for someone who has everything? Tele-presents! (You knew that was coming.) Seriously, you can’t always be there for your extended family. For relatives who live far away or anyone who spends a lot of time on the road, these digital ambassadors and messengers can put you face to face with the lives you are missing. For the elderly or people who have distinct mobility challenges, even across town can represent a great divide. “Teleportal” literally means “a distant doorway.” Put your robot in place and you will have that doorway open to anywhere. You now have the power to make it real and be there for the ones you care about most.
Assembling the dream team – You know certain people who would be great together if you could only get them in the same room at the same time. Imagine putting on a play with the best actors you know, even if they are distributed around the globe. Why hasn’t anyone produced a robot-only version of Hamlet yet? Or a Four Continent String Quartet? Yes, you can claim it was all your idea, and you’re welcome.
You no longer have permission to say, “I wish I could clone myself,” because you can, without all the messy legal implications. Telepresence robots let you be in two or more places at once. You can even be your own security patrol and guard the perimeter. Or see what the back of your head looks like before you go out on a date. Isn’t that really what technology is all about? If not, it certainly should be.