For mash get Smash

Are you old enough to remember those TV adverts with the robots that fell about laughing at humans who still mashed their own potatoes?

That image came into my head when I read this BBC article about robots reading books [quote]

A robot in the US library could fetch the book and, as directed by the web user, turn to the correct pages and scan the text and images.

So let me see if I’ve got this right. Via the internet, I’m supposed to instruct a million dollars-worth of machine that just happens to inhabit my local branch library to trundle around the floor, pick a book off a shelf, delicately turn the pages, scan them and send me images of them to read.

Rather than me just downloading it as an ebook in the first place, that is.

I see only one problem with this ingenious plan. How do we stop the robot spending all its time rolling on the floor convulsed with laughter?

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