Posted in Being human, Problems and solutions

Dreams of Robot Kittens

I’m watching a documentary about robots.

And it reminded me of a dream I had a long time ago.

Not a particularly important dream, just a cool dream.

In the dream, I was in a city.  Not sure what city, but a large city.  Kind of sprawling like San Jose, California, where I grew up.  But definitely not San Jose or any other city I’ve been to in real life.

Anyway, in this city, there were robot kittens.

They did not look like this robot cat, which I had as a kid:

This is nothing at all like the robot kittens in the dream.  This is an eighties toy that moved, purred, or meowed if you clapped in different patterns.  One of the motors on mine didn’t work so it mostly went around in circles.  I guess I had a disabled robot cat.  I was quite fond of it.

Anyway, the kittens in the dream:  They were tiny.  They were clearly robots, they made no attempt at being realistic.  So they were usually shiny, plastic, and a combination of white and some other color.  (Sometimes a color a cat would be, sometimes something like blue or purple.)  They were also completely adorable.

They didn’t look quite like this, but these modern toys are much closer to what was in the dream than my Petster:

A pink and white plastic robot kitten.
Pink and white plastic robot kitten. Doesn’t look quite like what was in the dream, but much closer tan my old Petster.

Anyway, these robot kittens made their way around the city without really being noticed by a lot of people.  People expected them and got out of their way, but they did a pretty good job of staying out of poeple’s way.

Except the person they were going to.

Because these were delivery kittens.

And each kitten delivered a small amount of food to someone who needed food right then.

And it could be that you had no other source of food.

But it could also just be that you wanted convenient food delivered to you quickly.

Or that you couldn’t be bothered to cook right then.

Or that you were disabled and found cooking and meal planning and all that too difficult.

The kitten delivery service didn’t care why you needed food, they’d just give you food.

The kitten would find you, open up a hatch on its side, and there would be your food.

And then once the kitten was assured you’d gotten your food, it would go on its way back to wherever the delivery kittens go when they’re not out delivering food.

See, in this city, and presumably in the surrounding culture, food was considered a human right.  Everyone took this as a given.  That’s one reason they didn’t differentiate between why a person wanted the kitten delivery service.  The kitten delivery service was completely subsidized and it was anyone’s right to use it for any reason at any time.

Imagine that.  Food being considered a human right.  And being delivered discreetly to anyone who wants it for any reason, by a small army of robotic delivery-kittens.

Holy crap, the world we live in…



Posted in Developmental disability service system

We are living out their dreams.

We are living out the dreams of the people who run this system that is supposed to exist for our benefit.

They have detailed, elaborate dreams for us.  Sometimes to make them feel good about themselves, sometimes to make themselves look good to others, sometimes a little of both.  Sometimes to feel like they’re making a difference.

We take on their dreams as our own.  We live them out as living dolls.  It’s especially confusing when their dreams are similar to things we want.  But quite often, we just go along.  Quite often, we learn that what they want of us is what we want.  And if we don’t go along, we can encounter huge amounts of trouble.

They’re skilled at manipulating us in ways that they are not always fully aware they are doing.  Sometimes they sincerely believe they are helping us do what we want.  Instead we are doing what they think they’d want in our place.  Or just doing what they want for us.

And we have to smile and be grateful and pose for the brochures.

And we can have our real dreams taken away — the little bit of them we get — if we show we are not satisfied with their dreams for us.

This can be brutal.  At its worst, it’s violation, puppetry, at a deep level.  We are human beings.  We have minds of our own.  Some of us manage better than others in these circumstances.

And if we say we don’t want these things, that threatens their entire self-concept, so their reaction can be out of proportion, even dangerous to us.