...how does it go up stairs?
Telecommuting just became soooooo twentieth century, thanks to a new oddity called the 'Beam Remote Presence Device' (BRPD, depicted below) that offers you the chance to beam you mug onto the seventeen-inch monitor atop a five-foot robot intended to roll around an office. The new bot comes from an outfit called Suitable …
Yeah, but imagine the fun the office-bound flunkies can have with sellotape, cardboard boxes and aforementioned instuments of human extermination. It wouldn't last long looking as minimalist as that in our office - FOV games would have it properly dressed without the home-worker schmuck having a clue. 10:1 says it would have deelie boppers before it rolled 6 inches.
There were some stories on devices like this a few years ago in IEEE Spectrum:
As I remember, the writer of one of the articles said that it had led to an embarassingly intimate moment when he had to phone his boss and ask him "please reboot me" :)
Here's hoping it's intelligent enough to be able to navigate on it's own to find a signal if it loses it (the article says it uses 'wireless' although whether that's normal wi-fi or something specific to the device), if not can see people at work getting phone calls saying "my robot's stuck again, can you wheel it back out of the black spot for me please"
Firstly, I'm not convinced that having this thing wandering around the office talking to my colleagues while I'm at home is any better than me phoning or instant-messaging them. But let's accept that it is.
What then if a colleague in the office while I'm at home wants to talk to me? Do they have to find my bot? Presumably they'll bypasss it and call me direct anyway.
Part of my reason for working at home is that I have colleagues in various offices in at least five countries (as, of course, do those colleagues). So we each need a bot in each office. Unless we all decide to work from home and have one central physical office somewhere in a cheap part of the globe entirely staffed by bots and bot-maintenance technicians.
I remember wanting something like this when doing remote support, so that I could follow the operators around and make sure they reset the right machine, or loaded the right tape.
All that is missing is the remote arm with cattle-prod attached for "encouraging" slower operators.
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