Ford’s new vision for package delivery is a robot that transports itself in an autonomous car (a.k.a. another robot). According to The Verge, the project is in its early stages and Ford “currently has no firm road map for creating a fully functioning robot delivery service.” But fuck it, they made a commercial anyway.
It’s clear Ford does not have a firm grip on how people will react to this product. The commercial plays on the normalcy of everyday, middle-class life (morning showers, teeth-brushing, stress caused by parental texts) when an autonomous van pulls up a driveway, soccer-mom/dad style, and births a delivery bot named Digit straight outta the trunk. Digit proceeds to do its headless, terminator shit like unfolding and recognizing scooter shapes while it begins its trek to the front door. Meanwhile, what looks to be a mom and daughter smile as if everything is normal.
Would you smile at a headless robot? I might, nervously, but sincerely? No, not without a head. The mom in this commercial should shield her daughter and tackle her on to the nearest lawn. I understand this commercial is assuming that at this point in time Digit has become the new, friendly, neighborhood mail “thing” that everyone is accustomed to, but really there’s nothing that shows me this commercial takes place in the future. Not even the near future (besides Digit I guess). In this commercial people are still using manual toothbrushes, too many books, non-foldable android phones, and real people packing boxes. It appears to me that it takes place present-day, 2019. So we’re just supposed to be comfortable with this unattended robot stomping by us with a box that looks like a bomb?
It’s absurd to have robots delivering our packages when we don’t have robots packing our packages (as portrayed in the commercial). Am I supposed to trust a robot that can’t pack a box in a supervised warehouse, but can drive and walk to my front door? I also have a hard time trusting a robot on the road, not to mention all alone, with a clamp-grip, strolling along the sidewalk like an after dinner, suicide-bomb walk. There’s just too many robot fail videos to trust Ford’s package delivery.
Okay. So maybe I’ve been watching too many robot fails on youtube and if we put an idea out there enough someone will get it right. Like eventually someone will learn the best way to get kicked in the balls without it hurting. At the very least, can we stop creating robots that remind us of Skynet and The Terminator? Or is that just forever ingrained in our heads? Or maybe it’s just my head. I think I just found out I have robophobia. Get this computer away from me.