It is said necessity is the mother of invention. I wholeheartedly disagree. We didn’t need cars or trains or elevators or even computers… well, maybe computers. But my disagreement stands. But if necessity isn’t the mother of invention, what is? Well, in my experience, invention is the result of our efforts to reduce the amount of actual work we have to do. Laziness. Laziness is the mother of invention.

1200px-Copenhagen_Metro_escalators

“Copenhagen Metro escalators” by Stig Nygaard from Copenhagen, Denmark

 

Did we need the plow? No. We just didn’t want to plow the fields by hand.
Did we need cars? No. We just wanted a way to move around that did not involve walking or raising and tending livestock.
My argument tends to get a little soft around computers, not so much because we weren’t trying to automate something we didn’t want to do, but because the Germans didn’t want to encrypt their super secret communications by hand during WWII. So, Turing conned the British government to get them to pay for his invention to decode the German messages faster than they could be done by hand. So we kind of had to invent the computer… thanks Germany.
Why do I write this particular rant today? Well, to understand what I do and why I do it, in terms of robotics, it’s good to understand where I’m coming from. And that is a place of laziness. And cool factor. Being lazy in the coolest way possible.
In fact, you can kind of say I’ve made a career out of laziness, both mine and other peoples’. I mean, I write database tools for a living so others can make decisions on all the data they collect without having to comb through it themselves.