Now Robots Are Coming for Dogs’ Jobs, Too

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Nov. 15 2013 12:32 PM

Now Robots Are Coming for Dogs’ Jobs, Too

53325729
Who will retrain this dog for a new high-tech position?

Photo by DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images

Those dastardly robots! They aren’t content to replace bartenders, journalists, and lawyers—now they’re coming after jobs performed by dogs, humans’ other favorite mammal.

Researchers in Australia have created a robot that can herd cattle. Its name, of course, is Rover. While a human being has to guide Rover for now, there are plans to automate it, according to BBC News.

Advertisement

For city slickers like me who enjoy watching a dog earn his kibble the old-fashioned way, this is a tragedy of automation. But according to the BBC, some Australian farmers with no sense of tradition have taken to rounding up their beasts with four-wheelers, which can cause injuries to human and animal alike. Rover offers a safe alternative if you’re already planning to the Australian cattle dog out to pasture. And as you can see in the video below, the bot's performance is pretty impressive.

Obviously, the next step for the researchers is creating a sheep-herding version of Rover that can belt out a proper “Baa-ram-ewe.”

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

Scotland Is Inspiring Secessionists Across America

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 18 2014 10:42 AM Scalia’s Liberal Streak The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 18 2014 11:25 AM Gays on TV: From National Freakout to Modern Family Fun
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM Where Pregnant Women Aren't Allowed to Work After 36 Weeks  
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 11:48 AM Watch the Hilarious First Sketch From Season 4 of Key & Peele
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 10:07 AM “The Day It All Ended” A short story from Hieroglyph, a new science fiction anthology.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.