J. Kelly Hoey

What is your favorite (fictional) robot?

This simple, direct question asked by Creative Mornings (New York) last Friday — which together with Carla Diana’s optimistic vision for a smarter future of objects, people and other things — has me mulling on robots and the state of being robotic, in work, relationships and expectations.

[roh-buh t, -bot]
a machine that resembles a human and does mechanical, routine tasks on command.
a person who acts and responds in a mechanical, routine manner, usually subject to another’s will; automaton.
any machine or mechanical device that operates automatically with humanlike skill.
adjective operating automatically.
Origin of ROBOT < Czech, coined by Karel Čapek in the play R.U.R. (1920) from the base robot-…..from Czech robotnik “slave,” from robota “forced labor, compulsory service, drudgery,” from robotiti “to work, drudge,”….

Back to a variation of the original Creative Morning’s nametag question: What is your favorite robot?

Hmmmm….R2-D2, your coffee maker or that disengaged cashier at the local drug store? What popped to mind first: an iconic TV or movie character or perhaps, the prosthetic limbs of an elite athlete or the exoskeleton being tested by the U.S. Military? Convenience, awe or annoyance — how have you been impacted by the internet of our daily lives and humanness of formerly inanimate objects? How are you approaching a regular middle-of-the week start to your own work day….as well as the comfort of known relationships? Are you submerged in the robotic comfort of routine or have you been jolted — by economics or emotions — out of your automaton state? Get back to me after you check your smartphone or wearable device….

A straight-forward job function question in 2009 jolted me from a conveyer-belt imagination — and general, unquestioning expectation — of what my career could possibly be. Perhaps this personal experience of being awakened from a robotic professional trance (go to college, earn a professional degree, get a good job, work your way up the ladder but not too high, save for your retirement, take your vacations…) is why I am so passionate about entrepreneurism as a mindset and approach to all aspects of our lives — not simply as a label or preoccupation for the young, nimble and idealistic. This renewed entrepreneurial spirit challenges us to leave a robotic “this is the way things are and should continue to proceed” point of view behind.

To answer Creative Morning’s question: my favorite fictional robot was Rosie, the Jetson’s maid. Frankly, I’d like a robot that was wildly proficient at both ironing and mixing a smart cocktail.

I’d also like to spend more time infused with Carla Diana’s infectious enthusiasm for the robotic future of possibilities — and yes, I’d really like to be enlisted for her next Lickestra.

This post originally appeared in Innovator Insights, Kelly Hoey’s weekly newsletter. To get insights in your inbox, sign up here.


Go back to writing

Build Your Dream

Rethink how you approach networking! Use Kelly’s roadmap to create and live your dream career.

Buy the Book

Build Your Dream Network

Buy the Book

A book to help build your dream! Use the power of networking to create and live your dream career.

Buy the Book