Friday, January 25, 2008

Telecommuting Construction Workers?

Imagine a future where robots do our work [the kind currently done by under-paid illegal immigrants], but need human to control them.

What if that manpower came from across the border, not in trucks, but over communication lines?

That is the premise of the movie Sleep Dealer. Wired has an interesting post on it.

Sleep Dealer tells the story of a young campensino named Memo whose DIY radio draws unwanted attention from a U.S. military contractor. Fleeing to Tijuana, Memo has implants placed in his body in order to become a "node worker" -- a Mexican laborer who, from south of the border, taps into a vast network that operates robots located in the United States.

Memo's robot welds girders on a skyscraper. Other node workers perform housework, watch the kids and keep the yard neat. The film's title refers to the node workers' exhaustion as they work 12-hour shifts to build, clean and maintain cities they'll never visit.

Given that it will be some time before robots become smart enough [and we trust them enough] with jobs, the premise of the movie may come to be true. Definitely worth thinking about.

In other news, did you know that there are 9 million bcycles in Beijing? [great music video - must watch]

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