Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I think my ultimate goal is to make the quality of life for all humans still alive up to the levels of 17th century European aristocrats, who had things pretty awesome, all things considered. A large percentage of their work was hobby time, they wanted for very little, and had armies of servants to help them with their every whim. The servants I am inventing will be non-sentient robots for ethical reasons. Sure, come wartime the aristocrats would be expected to serve in the armed forces, an aspect which I don't intend to copy, but all and all, a sweet life.
Okay, come morning, a typical aristocrat would be dressed by a servant. This was only partially because of laziness. Aristocrats of the day often wore ludicrously complicated clothing to achieve a kind of Ermine Cape Effect. They say after all that clothes make the man, mostly because naked people have relatively little influence on society, but also because dressing glamorously leads to a glamorous appearance that the aristocrat wished to cultivate. So, today, a machine for dressing a person.
I'd start with a machine that can pull a shirt over a person's head, fasten the buttons, pull pants over their legs, close the button, and raise the zipper. This is far far easier said than done, machine visual recognition is still extremely poor, about the level of a slug's vision at best. The machine must somehow identify the correct positioning of buttons and so on, preferably in some non-visual fashion, and also without accidentally fondling the user of the machine. A male user of this machine would be expected to put on underwear first, a female user both underwear and bra.
If that is somehow accomplished, the next thing to accomplish is bras and basic dresses. Somewhat more complicated, as they have many different styles and no two work quite the same way. Same problems as above, plus inconsistent operating principles. A system this complex could probably also handle other undergarments. Also, for male users, ties. (It's been my observation that women tend to avoid wearing neckties.)
The third stage would be the aristocratic clothing. It makes no sense at all, involves multiple layers, is utterly inconsistent, and in some instances could even involve sewing. (In 1914, Archduke Ferdinand's assassination was successful mostly because his ludicrously complicated clothing was sewn onto him every morning, which frustrated attempts to give him medical attention.) It could dress you in any style of clothes presented to it, and is borderline sentient so we stop at this point. Further innovations would involve lowering the costs to lower the price, and bring it into the price range of the worldwide populace. (Presumably the $1/day crowd would rent one for 1 cent per day, or some such.)

1 comment:

Pawl Bearing said...

wallace and grommit dominate the auto dressing scene:

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