By Resident Futurist Syd Bitter

Citizens of the UK in this difficult time are all too aware of what other countries are doing in the wake of the Coronavirus, with some of them shutting down, closing everything but hospitals, chemists and shops to buy toilet paper from. One idea that has been proposed, the prospect of closing down all schools and colleges, has been met with fierce criticism in some quarters. The argument is that by doing this would create a chain reaction, that parents would be forced to quit work in order to look after their kids, therefore they won’t get as much cash coming in, and then the bills won’t get paid, then they’ll lose their house, they’ll then live on the street, then eventually out of desperation, feed on wildlife. The government has announced that those who earn over a certain amount will be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, but have been a bit vague with plans for those in low earning jobs, employees on zero hour contracts, the self-employed, the unemployed, the semi-retired, freelance clowns… the list seems endless. But in an exclusive interview, I spoke with top government spokesman Thomas Eighthundred, who would like to use this platform to ease the worries of most of the population.

TDJJ: “Thank-you Mr Eighthundred for giving The Daily JabJab your time. You’ve heard all the cynics out there, and you know of the many scared denizens of these isles. What is the government going to do to alleviate their stress?”

TE: “We know of this chain of events that would definitely happen if we close the schools and colleges. There would be many, many people unable to work from home as a result, and would probably be sacked for taking too many days off in a row, whether they’ve got the virus or not. They’d be seen as workshy and lazy, so good riddance. What we’re proposing, then, is they get their own robot to perform the tasks at their workplace, partly controlled by them in the safety of their own home.”

TDJJ: “Okay. So much to unpack here. Erm, would these robots be fit for all tasks, like in a bakery, or in sales, anything that involves water?”

TE: “Well, the robots are standard issue humanoid military-grade systems, so it’d be up to the individual to control them if their job requires specific things like in the jobs you mention. Plus jobs in the creative arts. In fact, these machines haven’t yet been through beta testing, so they still might be a little combative. But in these desperate times we feel the need to fast track them into society, albeit for reasons they weren’t built or programmed for. I’m sure it’d be fine once they get the hang of things, I’ve been told they can learn and adapt.”

TDJJ: “And these robots would only be partly controlled by the individual workers?”

TE: “Yes. We’ve outsourced this project to an external corporation who’ve financed everything. They don’t want the working class to have complete control of their creations. They’ll pull the reins in if one of these proles get ideas above their pay grade.”

TDJJ: “How many of these robots are there?”

TE: “We’d be utilising the seven foot ones, they’re the smallest. I’ve not been given the exact amount of them we have, only that there’s more than enough for this mission. Incidentally, the largest ones are 30 feet tall, and have the ability to clip together to make an even bigger one, should the need arise. A bit like Voltron. It sounds flipping cool to be honest.”

TDJJ: “What situation would need a gigantic robot?”

TE: “Alien invasion. We don’t know how big they’ll be. Whether the threat comes from space or from beneath the oceans from another dimension somehow, we’ve got it covered.”

TDJJ: “Can these robots talk?”

TE: Not yet. The corporation said they haven’t had the time to sort this out because of the imminent rush to get them on the streets. But they can point, so as long as there’s signs around that the other robots can understand, say, terms and conditions when it comes to securing a holiday package or new car. Or take directions when filming a TV advert.”

TDJJ: “Are these robots user friendly, easy to operate?”

TE: “I’m not sure. As I said, the corporation would do most of the work, it’ll just be the individual employees controlling how they perform the job roles. It sounds easy enough, now I think about it, given the corporation’s insistence on ultimate control.”

TDJJ: “I’m not so sure. Don’t you see any serious issues with this? If the robots can learn and adapt, do you feel they could possibly start thinking for themselves after a while?”

TE: “I’m no expert, that’s why we gave this corporation a lot of autonomy on this. I’m sure they know what they’re doing. Listen, these robots would be immune to any viruses, there’s no evidence that anything could kill them. And I feel that our forward thinking would save so many jobs for these low earners and general scroungers. This news will reverberate around the world, and I’m sure other countries will follow our step into this brave new future. That’s what I’ve been told anyway.”

Published by The Daily Jabjab

Hi, I'm from Stockport, Greater Manchester England. My plan on my blog is to hone my creative writing and write a post every day this year. It sounds daunting, and I'm sure things will evolve over time. Let me know what you think about my writing - any tips, useful websites and things like that would be quite lovely. Thanks for reading!

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