Aug 2, 2013 at 2:08 pm #1306118
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.Aug 2, 2013 at 2:33 pm #2011776
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 needAug 2, 2013 at 4:49 pm #2011807
@meldLocale: The here and now.
Check it out.Aug 2, 2013 at 5:11 pm #2011811
spelt with a tParticipant
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
Hell no.Aug 2, 2013 at 5:33 pm #2011816
– -K.T.- –Participant
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.Aug 2, 2013 at 6:01 pm #2011829
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.Aug 2, 2013 at 6:02 pm #2011831
@kat_pLocale: Pacific Coast
Seems almost like a trick question.Aug 2, 2013 at 7:24 pm #2011864
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.Aug 2, 2013 at 7:40 pm #2011866
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Unless the robot is bipdedal, it won't be able to follow me where I want to go.Aug 2, 2013 at 9:43 pm #2011888
@philip-akLocale: Kodiak Alaska
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!Aug 2, 2013 at 9:46 pm #2011889
"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!Aug 2, 2013 at 11:31 pm #2011912
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
"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.Aug 3, 2013 at 3:19 am #2011922
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.Aug 3, 2013 at 7:31 am #2011939
@glacierramblerLocale: NW Montana
"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.Aug 3, 2013 at 9:10 am #2011951
I stumbled on a YouTube video recently of some guys hiking the Highline Trail in Utah using Llamas.
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!Aug 3, 2013 at 12:36 pm #2011994
@tracedefLocale: Southern California
Hell yeah, that wood isn't going to chop itself!Aug 3, 2013 at 1:17 pm #2012001
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.Aug 3, 2013 at 7:29 pm #2012098
@eagleriverdeeLocale: Eagle River, Alaska
No, but I could go for one of those tents like they had in Harry Potter. :)Aug 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm #2012297
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
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.Aug 4, 2013 at 4:02 pm #2012324
J Michael OrszagParticipant
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.Aug 4, 2013 at 4:45 pm #2012339
@narratorLocale: The front range
My concern for a robot is that, if it broke, I wouldn't be able to pack it out, and I'd feel bad spoiling a trail for others who have to climb over the remains of my broken robot.
I'd prefer to have a drone deliver my next days' food and water.Aug 4, 2013 at 5:13 pm #2012347
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Imagine this for a drone. In advance of your trip, you specify an exact location lat/long and date/time, and a drone flies overhead and drops a five-pound food package with a small parachute. You would need to pack out the empty packaging and parachute.
The only problem would be if you could not make it to the appointed location, so the food package becomes wilderness litter.
–B.G.–Aug 4, 2013 at 5:33 pm #2012361
@narratorLocale: The front range
A nice thing about drones is that they can stay on station at the lat/long requested for a long time. They could arrive at one's destination but not drop their payload until the requesting hiker arrived.
I should think a drone could land at many camp sites, especially above the tree line, but even if it had to be dropped, the terminal velocity for packages of loosely packed freeze dried food is so low it wouldn't need a parachute. Attaching something like The Tile App might make the payload easier to find.Aug 4, 2013 at 5:39 pm #2012365
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Does it need a battery? If so, I hate it.
I like being self-sufficient in the wilderness, carrying everything I need on my back.
I recently read that over 70% of American adults are over weight and over 30% obese. So methinks robots will drive up the already high cost of health costs.Aug 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm #2013007
"No, but I could go for one of those tents like they had in Harry Potter. :)"
Ok, i'm in on this one. And Hermione's expandable bag thing. Apparating might make peak bagging a bit less sporting though ;)
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