Robot Overlords Require Chores In Return For Technological Access

Looks like you might not be fully immersed in the digital world if you didn’t complete your chores. The members of the LVL1 Hackerspace have put together a lot of automation for their lair, but nothing drives home the utility of the system they call MOTHER like the shenanigan-preventing trash removal system. Or in layman’s turns, being nagged by MOTHER until you empty the trash can.

So here’s a bit of background first. Remember that sensor array that just had way too many environmental sensors on it? That is just one way that the automation system (MOTHER) measures its surroundings. It seems the hackerspace has been building a pile of scripts to interface with just about every aspect of the community.

For instance, the night before trash colletion the system starts by letting members know it’s trash night and someone needs to empty the garbage. There’s a pressure sensor under the can which alerts MOTHER to the fact that it has been moved. But what if nobody moves the can? Say goodbye to Google. Yep, it’ll block all Google searches until the chore is done. And that’s just one punishments in its bag of tricks.

So what if you just move the can and don’t take it out? No dice. MOTHER is also monitoring the garage door which needs to be open to get the extra-large can out to the dumpster. You’ve got five minutes to do that before she starts getting nasty.

[Thanks Jonathan]

21 thoughts on “Robot Overlords Require Chores In Return For Technological Access

      1. Haha :D
        I’m sure there must be a command line switch to circumvent that part of the installation process.
        It certainly posses issues to attempt to remedy this issue post upgrade. A renuptial agreement containing thoughs lines is often considered invalid by most systems.
        Once the upgrade is instigated the learning subroutines seem to become far more rigid in certain areas so behavioural modification can be futile.
        Sometimes it is often quicker and simpler to do a fresh install since downgrades often result in issues with ownership rights.
        … Haha (hmm… Distraction from projects detected, end bad pun)

  1. Why a “mother”? Why not Cave Johnson? “Cave Johnson here, you lab boys better clean up that mess, or I’ll make you do extra testing! -This has been a pre-recorded message.” Or if a female voice is needed, at least go with GlaDOS: “The Enrichment Center reminds you of our new forced voluntary initiative to take out the trash. If any member would like to opt out of this voluntary program, it will result on a negative mark on your record. Remember, science rhymes with compliance.”

      1. I concur about the “Alien” ref…the first thing I heard in my head when I saw the acronym was Sigourney Weaver’s voice…

        Of course, they could have gone with The Computer from the old role playing game “Paranoia”, but that would have required much more powerful lasers and some method to make the garbage can explode randomly….

    1. It’s not a reference to anything in particular. We had people propose various names and then voted on them, and MOTHER was the winner. I wanted Cartman, complete with his voice, but, alas, it didn’t happen. If you prefer, you can think of MOTHER as Multiple Object Tracking, Hacking, & Event Response system, but of course I just made that up.

      Also, the voice is feminine, but nowhere near as synthesized-sounding as GlaDOS.

  2. Why not just use a load cell under the can it’ll tell you when it needs changing and if the bag has been emptied or not and has less mechanical oarts to fail. Just try using all those micro swiches for the next 5 years. Besides the way it’s set up forces humans to live by the program.. The program should be responding to the humans as much as it can what if i don’t want to use the garage door what if the bag is not full cause less people were home? not missing grbage day would be good though so I do see the point but it needs to be a more organic system for it to really be succesful

    1. I think “take out the trash” means “move the city-provided trash bin out to the curb for pickup the next morning”, so this system is entirely appropriate. There’s no bag, microswitches last forever when actuated fewer than a dozen times a week, and the trash can probably cannot physically be removed from the space through the human-sized door.

      Though a load cell would give the system one more sensor input, which is always a good thing. =)

      1. You are correct. It’s a city-provided container that’s too big to be taken out through the front door, so using garage door is required. BTW, as soon as this was posted on HaD, MOTHER posted a congrats to the mailing list letting us know we were on here.

      2. Geesh,
        For all the trouble, why didn’t the group just put the garbage on rails && auto move it out the day before? — Only issue then would be having an automated arm(s) to go out and put the “bucket” back on the rails so that it could be moved back inside. :)
        I certainly would have expected this group to have an automated trash removal system such as

    2. I didn’t see on the project’s web page that micro switches where used, much less how they where used. Quality microswitches when used in a good design will last decades. They do in the oilfield anyway, in applications where they are are cycled multiple times a day. Tough SOB, as tough as the motor start contactors, they often control.

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