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Santa baby, all I want is a robot

Robot 2An artificial intelligence holiday wishlist

Everywhere I turn, there are articles about artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, the rise of robots and what it means for employees in all types of businesses. (Note: As you may have read in some of our previous blog posts, we think the accounting profession will fare a-ok.) Driverless cars and trucks are already a reality and have had both their first accidents and delivered their first kegs of beer. Not at the same time. While it is still a little difficult for me to wrap my head around the fact my son and daughter may do minimal driving as adults, I am more than ready for robots to lend a hand in a few other departments. Because isn’t the point of these things to take on tasks that consume too much time allowing me to focus on what really matters?

1. Holiday shopping. Every year, I spend hours hunting for the perfect gifts for my husband, who just wants Adidas to start making his favorite wind pants from 1997 again. (Note to Adidas: please don’t.) He wants nothing else and is generally horrible to shop for. I would gladly outsource this job to a robot. Who can then wrap the presents.

2. Clean my house. Where is Rosie (the Jetsons robot maid) when I need her? I know I could buy a Roomba, but a Roomba can’t dust, or change the diaper pail, or scrub the shower or toilet, or do my laundry.

3. Make repairs. Since my husband and I bought our house a year and a half ago, a tree fell through our fence, our garage roof needed to be replaced, our entire plumbing system got clogged and our upstairs toilet intermittently starts running for no reason. A fix-it robot would come in handy.

4. Cook. I love to cook. But the current state of my life—working mom with working husband and two kids ages 3 and 11 months—means there’s very little time to find joy in getting a meal on the table once I get home from work.

5. Schedule appointments. I am notoriously awful at doing anything that involves calling people on the phone—whether it is making appointments or ordering food, I avoid phone-related tasks until it is no longer possible to do so.

6. Organize my stuff. From piles of paper to music and electronic photos, I never seem to have the time to make sense of it all. I have empty picture frames in my den, paintings without frames in my basement, a mirror that has needed to be hung for more than a year. And don’t even get me started on my futile attempts to organize, store and purge my children’s old clothes, not to mention organizing my own summer and winter stuff in a less haphazard manner.

7. Inventory my pantry and closets. How many times have I discovered at the last minute that I have four cans of diced tomatoes but no cans of tomato sauce? Or I’ve run out of a spice. Or my kid doesn’t have any more toothpaste.

8. Teach me how to do things. This year I considered building a hot cocoa stand to use as a prop for my kids’ holiday card photos. But I have no idea how to build such a thing, and even with directions, I think some assistance from a friendly robot would make all the difference in my success.

While the prospect of robots becoming a regular part of society may cause concern for some, the ways they can improve our lives is endless. When my kids are older, I want them to remember the time they spent with me, the things we did, the fun we had rather than me trying (and failing) to keep the house organized. So, Santa, if you could hurry up and deliver a jack-of-all-trades robot to help me out, I’ll leave your favorite kind of cookies next to the tree.

Lauren J. Sternberg, Communications Manager, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

Robot gift courtesy of Shutterstock.

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