The robot census

It’s fall. And you know what that means. Time for colorful leaves, crisp air — and, of course, the United Nations’ annual census of the world’s robot population.

Words fail to express my unbridled delight that global civil servants actually spend their time collating this information. According a Wired News story on the census, there are now 607,000 “automated domestic robots” out there, mostly robot lawnmowers and Roombatic vacuum cleaners. The UN predicts that by the end of 2007, there’ll be a remarkable 4.1 million domestic robots.

I think we should herd ‘em all into one part of the US and make it an official state. If you want more info, you can check out the UN’s official robot-census site, which includes such superb dinner-conversation trivia as:

Almost 20,000 robots in Spain — the robot density in Spain is now higher than in France.

Zut alors. By the way, that picture above? It’s a painting by my friend El Rey, who frequently does robot-based artwork, and its title is “I, For One, Welcome Our Robot Overlords”. I think it’s sold, but his site is replete with other robot art.

(Thanks to Slashdot for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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