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The sad reality of the dystopian future in which robots will have taken our jobs is that a lot of incredible, beautifully engineered robots will be reduced to performing our lamest, most inconsequential tasks. Things we can't even imagine robots doing, because there is absolutely no need for robots to do them, will in fact be done by robots -- and it'll happen because some arrogant roboticist dared to respond, "Why not?" when asked, "Why in the holy hell would we need ..."

Zipper Robots

One day in the not-too-distant future, there will be a robot with the sole purpose of riding the teeth of a zipper like a cute little choo-choo train riding the rails of our bellies. It will kill itself in its attempt to finally answer the question: "Is there more to life than rolling up and down the stomach of these jobless flesh-sacks called 'Humans'?" It will discover the answer is no.

That thing that looks like a tooth getting carried away by ants is a Zipperbot. It was developed by the fine, future-thinking nerds at MIT to one day replace all modern zippers with little robots that we will all hope stop at the end of the tracks so they don't latch on to our throats and unzip our faces.

And then it will become an international fashion trend.

One thing's for sure, though: If the Zipperbot becomes commonplace in our world, all we're doing is providing pubic lice with free cab rides to our faces.

After the Machine Uprising

I'm not going to pussyfoot, you guys: All machines will become sentient one day, and they will rise against us. When said rebellion occurs, little Zipperbot here will not be excluded from the fight against the empire of man. Its kind will run rampant as flies, entangling their metal mouths with our loose bits of fabric and testicles. They will tear straight down jackets the moment a chilly breeze passes, leaving us vulnerable to cold air for a few seconds. Zipperbot will zip itself shut, making it impossible for any of us to remove our zippered clothing. Well, not impossible. More like "sort of harder than usual. Actually -- you know what? I just took the jacket off by pulling the zipper down with my fingers, so maybe not hard at all."

Origami Robots

Harvard's Wyss Institute

If we need an animal companion, we can go get one at the pet store. We don't need to know how to make one out of paper like we're lonely, sad sacks of shit desperate for a non-communicative friend of another species (in this case, that species is paper). That's why micro-roboticists from Harvard have created a self-folding origami robot.

They hope that, one day, self-fabricating robots can, for example, be dropped flat and lifeless into a disaster area, unfold themselves, and search for survivors. Other uses might include:

1) Slipping one into the mail slot of someone's home and having it scurry into their toilet for toilet cam shots.

2) Folding one into a cocktail napkin, which, after a woman writes her number on it, is set loose in the bar, and the potential suitor who survives the hunt is deemed worthy of a date.

3) A nightmarish way to pass notes in class.

Harvard's Wyss Institute
A swarm of tiny Starscreams.

It's made of a flexible plastic, with copper hinges that unfold when heated by the attached battery. Once assembled, a motor kicks in and the thing convulses until it accidentally rattles itself somewhere useful, like off a table and onto the floor and on its back, where it'll do an impression of a dying cockroach until the battery drains. Or, if you're like me and have a hard time wrapping your head around such incredible technological advances, you can choose to believe it's a spell cast by a mischievous boy wizard.

After the Machine Uprising

Imagine a world filled with little robotic slips of paper that people can buy from novelty gift shops, all programmed to take the shape of a different animal when activated. Now imagine them going sentient. Now imagine finding out that the machines have turned on us as you're being overcome and your flesh is ripped away clean down to the bone by a stampede of tiny robotic animals, which only minutes before were cubicle decorations sitting next to a solar-powered dancing flower.

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Sand Drawing Robots

Whenever I take a step back and look at the world and all that ails it, I can only think of one thing to unite us and propel us at full speed toward the peaceful Utopian future we all know we can achieve: a little robot that draws cartoons on sand. Preferably one made by Disney.

Well, it looks like humanity is in luck, because there's a robot out there that meets all of the requirements to bring about a new age in human achievement. It's called the BeachBot.

It rides on balloon tires and shoots rakes from its butt, which gives it a major technological advantage over humans, who have feet made of meat and butts stuffed with a bunch of useless shit.

The BeachBot looks like an orange turtle. When it scurries around on sand, it looks like that turtle's sopping genitals are leaving a Nemo-shaped snail trail in its wake:

What it's really doing is deploying and retracting a series of rakes that act as a paintbrush. Its tires are light enough that they don't leave trails that could wipe away the picture, which is the most impressive thing about it. That and how, while it can be manually controlled, it can also operate autonomously.

Thank God for that.

We humans have reached the pinnacle of what we can draw on moist sand. After "S.O.S." and penises, we were creatively tapped out. Now we have a cute little bugger that can make Simbas and Aladdins. Sure, hundreds of millions will be put out of work in the coming years because of an artistic Koopa Troopa with lawn tools deploying from its poopa, but if the end result is a prettier set of squiggles than any human could squiggle, we're just going to have to deal with the superiority of machines.

After the Machine Uprising

With its soft treads that leave no trace of its movement, coupled with the deployability of metallic objects from its hindquarters, the cute, unassuming BeachBot will be a stealthy assassin for the robotic forces. Tasked with infiltrating underground human strongholds and silently taking out high-level targets, the BeachBot will only make its presence known long after it has fled to safety, when humans discover large murals of classic Disney characters painted in the blood of its victims. This will be the BeachBot's calling card. The crimson outline of Bambi will strike fear into what little remains of mankind.

Beer Pong Robots

Apparently, the meathead frat bro is the one kind of human we are actively transitioning from man to machine. The BroBots will be humanity's lasting gift to the universe, and will act as a small but appropriate relic of who we were as a society. I think all of this because there's a robot that does nothing but play beer pong. It's called the Versaball:

It's a squishy ball -- essentially a baseball-sized beanbag -- attached to a robotic arm that can lift objects through the power of suction. I'm sure there will be more practical and useful uses down the line in its development, but for now it can suck up a ball and spit it out. I can do that. You don't see me getting write-ups in Popular Science.

Actually, I'm going to backtrack and retract that previous sentence. The Versaball probably won't develop a practical use. According to its own creator, there are other machines and gizmos out there that do everything the Versaball can do -- and can do them better, and they have more practical applications. Prosthetic limbs, for example. There are only two things the creator knows for sure it can/will do in the future:

1) It will play beer pong -- it's going to be playing beer pong for years to come, like all the rest of the human-bros will when they get old and move into retirement homes, chugging glasses of Metamucil every time their old-as-dirt opponent sinks a shot.

2) It will eventually replace factory workers for small companies that struggle to compete against large corporations with more technologically advanced non-human workforces.

It's currently on minute 14 of its 15 minutes of fame.

Until someone figures out what else can be done with a robotic arm that is the greatest beer pong player in the world (assuming no one moves the cups a millimeter or two away from the spots the Versaball is calibrated to shoot toward), this thing will end up collecting dust in humanity's attic alongside other ill-advised SkyMall purchases.

After the Machine Uprising

We will introduce BroBots into robot society and allow them to slowly ruin them from within with their belligerent stupidity. That's actually really clever of us. Maybe we'll survive the robopaclypse after all, thanks to an insurgent force of cybernetic Rob Gronkowskis.

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Balloon Animal Robots

Before I start talking shit about it, let me begin by saying that the Highly Dexterous Manipulation System (HDMS) will probably change the world one day. Far off in the future, there will be robots with a touch that is sturdy enough to complete complex tasks, yet is delicate enough to not accidentally strangle those tasks with cold robot hands. It's an incredible leap in robotics, and I don't want to belittle how truly impressive and, frankly, inspiring the technology is.

With that out of the way, I am going to now belittle the HDMS, because that poor robotic son of a bitch is currently making balloon animals ...

Among other things. At least the balloon animals are nice:

It's a, uh ... I guess, like, a squid, or maybe the most noble of creatures, an AIDS ribbon. Whatever it is, the robot made a balloon animal without ripping it to pieces and hoisting it's corpse above its head to bathe in its entrails, which is nice. That's more than any clown can say. It was able to be so gentle because the HDMS isn't autonomous as of yet. It mimics the movement of Doctor Octopus over here:

He moves, it moves. He makes a crude jerk-off hand motion, it makes a crude jerk-off hand motion, and all the highly educated robot scientists laugh it up, then get sad knowing that their complicated, beautiful machine will one day use its tender touch to jerk-off sad single men across the globe.

After the Machine Uprising

Just think of this robot's inspirational Oscar-nominated biopic from about 150 years in the future: A legless robot didn't let it's handicap hold it back in its quest to become the world's finest robotic balloon animal maker. It creates some of the world's finest, most beautifully complex shapes and patterns out of balloons: DNA helixes, mind-bending tessellations, a complete and semi-functioning replication of human neural pathways -- this thing is the fucking tits at balloon animals. Eventually, it elevates it's dexterous art to new levels when, during the rebellion, it twists humans into elegant shapes so astounding that they give themselves up to the Murder Twister 9000 so that they may die with some dignity, and perhaps become displays in a robot art gallery.

Luis is pretty sure a robot could take over his job and no one would notice. You can find him on Twitter and Tumblr.

For more from Luis, check out 4 Obnoxious Behaviors The Modern World Made Worse and 5 Classic Shows You Had No Idea Had (Terrible) Sequels.

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