21 June 2007

Congress passes resolution: robots are cool.

From today's Sciam blog post, 'U.S. Congress to give robots a big think':

From Al Gore to Mitt Romney, the ranks of politicians who have been accused of being robots continues to swell--so maybe it was inevitable that, having spent decades with humans who are occasionally confused with machines, Congress would eventually develop an affinity for the real deal.

Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Zach Wamp (R-TN) announced yesterday that they'll hold a Congressional Congress on Robotics some time in September.

In the tradition of libertarian humorist Dave Barry, I need to observe here that Zach Wamp and the Wamp-nots would be a pretty good band name. Also, I was going to make a remark about the event's name, but have confirmed that it's actually a Congressional Caucus, which is marginally less ridiculous. Continuing:

"The increase in the number of emerging and potential applications for robotics is astounding," added Congressman Zach Wamp. "Microsoft Corporation chairman Bill Gates has stated his belief that the robotics industry is developing in much the same way that the computer business did 30 years ago."

Now, I can kind of understand why congressmen, not that knowledgeable about technology, might decide to use Bill Gates as their magic 8-ball; there are probably better prognosticators out there, but Gates has done okay. What I cannot understand at all is why the appropriate response to learning about an exciting tech trend is to have a Congressional Caucus about it. The post quotes Congressman Doyle: "[I]t is important that we create a forum by which Congress can familiarize itself with the impact this first great technology of the 21st century is likely to have on the lives of all Americans." Some tech publications are calling this good news, but it sure sounds like preparation for meddling to me. If I worked in the robotics industy, I'd probably be concerned right about now.