According to a News24 news item this morning boffins in Italy have developed a robotic rubbish collector.
Customers can send a text message to the robot when they leave out their bin bags and then he/she/it will happily trundle along, scoop up their bin bags and take them to the appropriate trash sorting centre. It sounds great. Bin men on demand. No more rubbish lying around rotting for days on end while we wait for the bin men to finally get round to performing their weekly pick up. One text and you get instant service.
Presumably as many times a day as you need it.
Of course for it to work in the UK there are certain modifications that would have to be made and certain social problems that would have to be overcome.
You just know that the poor little robot would end up mercilessly tagged with graffiti as it went about its business or, worst case scenario, hoofed into the nearest river or dropped off a railway bridge to be neatly (trash) compacted by the 9.25 to Birmingham Moor Street.
So security for the Brit version would have to be beefed up. Armour of some kind. Anti tamper mechanisms. Anti graffiti paint. Smoke canisters and rubber bullets fired out of its electronic anus. A direct line to the ASBO department of the local constabulary. Possibly a random selection of Gene Hunt quotes broadcast through an on-board amplifier to deter potential attackers.
“You’re making as much progress as a spastic in a magnet factory...”
"You look as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot...”
"You so much as belch out of line and I'll have your scrotum on a barbed wire plate..."
That sort of thing.
As for modifying its behaviour to fit in with British bin man culture, this should be easy enough to do.
It would need to be reprogrammed to be as untidy as possible – to spill litter everywhere and not bother to return your bin properly. Instead it could dump your bin in another street entirely so you can play “hunt the bin” for a couple of hours to get it back.
It would have to sing as loudly as possible in a voice so atonal it makes Piers Morgan sound like Frank Sinatra. Something by Brittany Spears. Only with alternative lyrics – rhymes that would make a rugby player blush. And all songs must be sung between 8.30 and 9.00 in the morning so every school kid in the land can receive a true education in uncouthness and vulgarity.
Finally of course the bin bot must be programmed to sift through your rubbish in search of old porno mags and rogue copies of The Sunday Sport that it can wave about in the street and call to its robotic colleagues about.
“Blimey, look at the trash compactor on ‘er...”
“Cor, I wouldn’t mind land-filling that one...”
Yeah. Then it would fit right in. Perfect integration. Nobody would even notice any difference.
See, I should have been a scientist, me.