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Opinion 4 min read 3 comments

No, I won't let robots clean my house

Have you ever wondered what technology is for? In these troubled times when it’s used for everything and anything, this is a good question to ask. Technology is omnipresent in our daily lives, especially in areas where it doesn’t really add value. Smart homes are the perfect examples of this dilemma.

Cleaning is one of the many things that we don’t do for pleasure, but instead out of obligation (at least most of us). It’s therefore no surprise that technology has sought a solution that will save us all some time and energy. So over the centuries, we’ve seen the arrival of different types of tools that have the sole purpose of helping us clean our homes: brooms, buckets and vacuum cleaners are changing before our eyes. Today’s household tools do the work themselves.

On paper, it’s a beautiful story. In practice it’s quite different. You can’t fight against progress, but you can still avoid considering any novelty as a step forward.

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It’s hard to hide the disappointment. This vacuum clean won’t change your life. / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

Humans still clean faster than any robot

The manufacturers put forward the argument that robots are more independent. The most advanced models simply need to be turned on and then start analyzing what they need to do, without any intervention on your part. So you can go about your business without worrying about your new friend distracting you. Interesting, right?

It’s a matter of perspective. In practice, you’ll clean much faster than your robot (depending on the model, you’ll often do a better job as well). Instead of listening to it shake around you and watch it get stuck in your carpet (and eventually trip over it), you could’ve just done the job faster if you did it by yourself. This allows you to avoid the somewhat annoying noise of some models.

Robots can’t adapt to their environment

Unless you invest in a particularly high-end model (and even in this case there might be somewhat limited potential), your robot will encounter difficulties. In theory, it should detect obstacles along its way. And in practice, it’s true that it does manage to analyze situations well, but sometimes it still struggles to find solutions. For example, if your carpet has a small clump in it, the robot might not be able to get across it.

What happens if it chews up your personal belongings or important items? An earring or a little bracelet that falls on the bathroom floor? Or stupid little things like your shopping list? A robot obviously can’t determine if these objects are valuable or not. It’ll suck them up without knowing any better. Of course, this might also happen if you vacuum yourself, but there’s a good chance you’ll see the object and react in time.

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Everyone has to decide if a robot like this is for them. / © AndroidPIT

I don't want to get used to seeing things done for me

Maybe it’s a generational thing or about how educated you are, but I think it’s important to do it yourself. The idea of a robot doing the work while the user watches TV concerns me. It makes the think of the WALL-E movie, where humans got so used to not moving that they all became obese and almost forgot how to walk.

If the robot could do an impeccable job and could it faster than me, I’d be more intrigued. But as it stands now, I remain perplexed.

For this price, you can find something better

If you don’t want to do the cleaning yourself, you can make a alternative investment that grow the economy: hire an actual person to clean: they will do a better job than your robot. It’s up to you to calculate which investment works better for you, but it’s obvious that in terms of quality, the difference is clear.

What do you think about vacuum robots? Are they a real revolution?

3 comments

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  • This article is filled with flawed logic... the point in using a robot cleaner isn't that it's supposed to do the job faster, but rather it cleans your house while you are either asleep or away at work.

    Comparing hiring a cleaner to using a machine is beyond me. A machine has a one time price, which a cleaner would surpass in a few appointments. The same goes for a dishwasher, washing machine or any other appliance.

    Good to know the root of this bitterness is your fear of becoming obese. That does put things back info perspective.


  • I can only assume your house is a sess pit fillled with environmental hazards that no vacuum could deal with. Making suggestions that a more expensive vaccum could do a better job is a joke, as the one you hold up in dispair is probably the most advanced robot vaccum on the market, despite its low price tag. Google it. I suggest instead of having disgusting dust mite attracting carpet you go for more sanitary floorboards next time. I have three of these and they do an amazing job. The firmware is constantly updated with new features and as long as I don't leave shit all over the place Im only faced with a corner vacuum once a month. As they say... I think you're doing it wrong.


  • storm 4 months ago Link to comment

    I'm ok with a robot doing things slower. I can was dishes faster than my dishwasher but letting the dishwasher do it free up time for other pursuits.

    But, I'm not OK with my robot sending my house layout data back to corporate for any use. All the processing needs to happen in my house and it should report to no one but me when it needs service or updating or for anything else.

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