Backpacking robot: would you use one?
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Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Backpacking robot: would you use one? on 08/02/2013 15:08:38 MDT Print View

Let's say that the robot industry really blows up. Everyone has their own personal robot servant. Not like "Blade Runner" type synthetic humans, but machines, so they won't talk back at you or turn on you or anything like that. They will do whatever you say, run on water and solar power, and are affordable and easy to fix.

Would you take one with you backpacking and have it carry your pack? And if so, would you still go lightweight, or go deluxe car camping style. Let's say they can carry 100kg max.

So would you use one, and why or why not?

I will wait before I give my reply. I honestly can't decide right now, and feel like there are some angles I have not considered.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Backpacking robot: would you use one? on 08/02/2013 15:33:35 MDT Print View

People already do that with horses, mules and llamas. The trails in the western US were built for pack animals. When I did a hike in Kings Canyon we camped with a group with llamas and they were definitely not light but quite comfortable.

for me it is probably and extra expense and complication that I don't need

Marc Eldridge
(meld) - MLife

Locale: The here and now.
Re: "Backpacking robot: would you use one?" on 08/02/2013 17:49:51 MDT Print View

Check it out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdKyqA98B3g

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Backpacking robot: would you use one? on 08/02/2013 18:11:28 MDT Print View

Hell no.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Backpacking robot: would you use one? on 08/02/2013 18:33:16 MDT Print View

Not at this point in my life, thanks. There would be issues using it in wilderness areas here. No motorized machines allowed. No drones, no robots.

You'll need more space, everywhere for one.

Ask me in 25 years.

I go out to simplify. My pack still is comfortable and not a burden. A robot would just be more of everything that I am trying to distance myself, no matter how short term, from.

I don't even have an automatic dishwasher. I would pass on having a servant in the house too.

Now if I could have a good Mexican food delivered anywhere, that would be useful.

Edited by kthompson on 08/02/2013 18:36:31 MDT.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
No way on 08/02/2013 19:01:20 MDT Print View

I have everything I NEED in my little pack. Unless I'm out for over five days, the pack weight isn't noticeable so I would gain nothing from a robot or other living helper.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Trick on 08/02/2013 19:02:46 MDT Print View

Seems almost like a trick question.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
re: Backpacking robot: would you use one? on 08/02/2013 20:24:13 MDT Print View

It would be great to have a shelter that sets itself up like a giant umbrella, a table and chair, bridge ladder, inflatable raft with motor, large wardrobe, satellite dish, an iron skillet, fresh cantaloupes, and a nice espresso machine. But, why bother walking...in only two years I plan on having a Marty McFly hoverboard.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Backpacking robot: would you use one? on 08/02/2013 20:40:46 MDT Print View

Unless the robot is bipdedal, it won't be able to follow me where I want to go.

Philip Tschersich
(Philip.AK) - F

Locale: Kodiak Alaska
Needs a PTO on 08/02/2013 22:43:26 MDT Print View

If it had a brush mower implement on the front and I could follow it through coastal Alaskan alder and salmonberry thickets, then f*ck yeah! Bring it on!

Edited by Philip.AK on 08/02/2013 22:43:59 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Backpacking robot: would you use one? on 08/02/2013 22:46:33 MDT Print View

"Let's say that the robot industry really blows up. Everyone has their own personal robot servant. Not like "Blade Runner" type synthetic humans, but machines, so they won't talk back at you or turn on you or anything like that. They will do whatever you say, run on water and solar power, and are affordable and easy to fix.

Would you take one with you backpacking and have it carry your pack?"

Take it backpacking? No. But I'd marry it in a heartbeat!

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Backpacking robot: would you use one? on 08/03/2013 00:31:21 MDT Print View

"Unless the robot is bipdedal, it won't be able to follow me where I want to go."

Johnny Five from Short Circuit could go lots of places. He had tank-like treads.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Still undecided on 08/03/2013 04:19:11 MDT Print View

Some interesting replies.

For the record, this is not a trick question or anything. I just got to thinking about the future, and what if robots were commonplace in say 10 or 20 years as a result of continued technological innovation.

I don't see why a robot could not be bipedal, there are already some pretty amazing bipedal robots I have seen that can both walk and run and even jump.

I am very much a minimalist when it comes to lifestyle, so I tend to agree with Ken's line of reasoning (thought I do own a dishwasher :P). But then I begin to speculate on just how good a robot that might be available in the future, and I think this is the crux of the issue. If it were affordable, ran on renewable energy, bipedal, and could carry my gear with ease, then it's hard to make a case against it appealing to minimalism.

The experience of being self-sufficient, however, is something that I value and would argue that we (humanity) ought to value in general. Note that this is not an is/ought fallacy simple because I use the same key words, unless someone wants to forward that being self-sufficient is not a favorable or beneficial trait to encourage in human beings.

Thus, one of the main positive gains of backpacking is the problem solving and self-sufficiency involved in the endeavor, and this would be nullified by taking a robot to do the work for you, it would seem.

But keep in mind that this need not be a false dichotomy of always/never using such a robot. What if, for instance, one took a robot with them on say a thru-hike of a very long trail like the PCT and used the robot every other day? Or what if you took the robot along and only had it take emergency supplies and extra food/water? There are a lot of variables and options.

So I am still undecided. One could in theory have a win-win situation of the convenience and comfort of using the robot and also the benefits and values of the experience of backpacking at the same time. It's something worth thinking about as technology continues to become more advance. Even if these robots never exist in our lifetime, surely gear will get both stronger and lighter and generally better with time. I wonder if in 100 or 1000 years, will UL mean under 1kg, SUL under 500g, and XUL under 250g base weight? Think about how much easier and potentially more enjoyable backpacking would be if you had everything that your current 3 season gear list contains, but at 10% of the weight.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Still undecided on 08/03/2013 08:31:37 MDT Print View

"It's something worth thinking about as technology continues to become more advance. Even if these robots never exist in our lifetime, surely gear will get both stronger and lighter and generally better with time. I wonder if in 100 or 1000 years, will UL mean under 1kg, SUL under 500g, and XUL under 250g base weight? Think about how much easier and potentially more enjoyable backpacking would be if you had everything that your current 3 season gear list contains, but at 10% of the weight."

Yes, but then we'd all have no choice but to become like Nick Gatel and be desert hikers. It's the water weight that gets you there, assuming you can find enough water for the elevated needs of strenuous exercise.

That said, I'm still no on the robot for the same reasons I'm no on a smartphone. The more someone/something does for you, the more your brain quite literally loses the ability to conceptualize those things.

Edited by GlacierRambler on 08/03/2013 10:50:22 MDT.

Sara Marchetti
(smarchet) - MLife
Re: Backpacking robot: would you use one? on 08/03/2013 10:10:04 MDT Print View

I stumbled on a YouTube video recently of some guys hiking the Highline Trail in Utah using Llamas.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kCbkS4A-d4

I had to lol because that is a LOT of gear they are packing. Must be pretty luxurious because each of them appeared to not only have a llama pack animal but also carried backpacks themselves!

Trace Richardson
(tracedef) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Sherpa 9000 on 08/03/2013 13:36:30 MDT Print View

Hell yeah, that wood isn't going to chop itself!

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F
Backpacking robot: would you use one? on 08/03/2013 14:17:42 MDT Print View

I am waiting on the micro atomic power plant no more than 2 oz and runs on twigs, wireless hammock compatible insta-dome force field space shield with the tint option, nano carbon tube hammock and a decent ultra light food replicator that weighs no more than 4 oz. You know you just cant find a decent UL food replicator these days. Add to that an environmental "Dune" suit that recycles fluids and waste and a carbon nano tube multi use cape and staff and I am ready to go.

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Backpacking robot: would you use one?" on 08/03/2013 20:29:01 MDT Print View

No, but I could go for one of those tents like they had in Harry Potter. :)

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: "Backpacking robot: would you use one?" on 08/04/2013 15:57:51 MDT Print View

Right now, no. But later on in life, if using a robot means I can extend my hiking for yet another season - then yes, I just might use one.

J Michael Orszag
(mikeorszag) - MLife
Boston Dynamics Robot Dog on 08/04/2013 17:02:35 MDT Print View

http://www.bostondynamics.com/robot_bigdog.html could well replace pack animals such as a Yak if they could work out the battery life issues.