Is Jeeves a Robot?

Seeing that I will turn eighty later this year, at times my mind wanders to what the future might hold for us. We (my wife and I) celebrated fifty-seven years of marriage in May and we would hope that should one of us take sick or become disabled, the other will be around and will be both physically and mentally able to provide whatever care is needed.

That being said seeing that we are living in such a high-tech world today with so much being discovered about Artificial Intelligence, is it possible that some may think that we should entrust the care of our senior citizens (in their upper 70s or 80s) to what have been defined as artificial assistants?

There are quite a few robots in place today that were designed for and are actually providing support for older adults (senior citizens such as my wife and I) who are – how do they like to put it – aging in place. What this means is, most of us prefer to stay at home and care for ourselves as best we can. The alternative would be being forced to relocate to assisted living or nursing homes.

The big thing about such robots is that they will not necessarily look like people. With so many robot movies being around for years and the role robots tend to be portrayed as, it is not any wonder why some people are reluctant to face what the future might hold regarding seniors and robotics. Fact is they are not all like that.

Take, for instance, Hector. As we all know, most robots are mobile. They are usually designed to work in collaboration with a smart home and remote center. Some of the things they are capable of doing is to support older people living at home versus an assisted living facility. Some of the tasks they can perform is keep track of a senior’s eyeglasses, hearing aids, as well as remind the senior citizen to take their prescribed medicines and even quite possibly help in the case of a fall the senior might incur.

We know that as we age, we usually tend to lose muscle mass (unless we are fortunate enough to go to the gym every day). I know for a fact pushing our vacuum cleaner (ours is an old Kirby, fantastic vacuum cleaner but heavy as @#$%^*) just wears one out even if it is self-propelled. You still must get it from point A to point B. Enter small, specific devices such as iRobot’s robotic vacuum cleaner Roomba. These small, specific devices are just what the doctor ordered for those senior citizens that are unable to vacuum their own house anymore.

As we seniors age, we may need assistance with everyday tasks, tasks such as eating, bathing, dressing, and standing up – you know – what many of us know as the “activities of daily living”. Add to the mix is help needed with cooking or managing our medications. Enter the possibility of ‘a robotic hand’ which might also be available to assist when we do our laundry and other tasks around the house.

Think about it – I am sure we already have robots mopping floors, mowing lawns, lifting people into and out of chairs and beds when the individual caring for them is not physically able to do such tasks. Sound unbelievable? But then along came AI driven cars. Who would have believed cars could parallel park themselves or even drive themselves? That one still surprises me although some movies have eluded to it for years.

And then there is the thought that with more advanced robotic technology, things that caregivers are doing now could be replaced with robots freeing up time for relatives and social workers to visit elderly people more often no matter where they live. Some people may not be in favor of robots replacing some of our everyday activities. But, if AI (artificial intelligence) applications can remind seniors of things that are pertinent to their everyday living, chances are that doing so may just remove some of the anxiety and confusion that seniors face every day.

It has even been suggested or mentioned that AI-powered social robots may just provide some level of companionship for lonely seniors. I mean, we all would like to think that we and our mates will be around forever. But truth be told, other than buying a puppy for companionship once a mate is gone, a robot might just be the next best thing. If nothing else, they would be someone to converse with.

The plus side of this equation is that these AI robots are able to work around the clock and are available 24/7. Who says they cannot support aging in place?

Welcome to the future! Interesting concept is it not?

Stay safe and be well.

Until next time!

P.M.A.

How can I tell what I think until I see what I say? – E. M. Forster

Crazy times!

Lately I have not been myself and I am sure it is due to this crazy coronavirus, our period of self-isolation, as well as our current political situation. I am thinking that quite a few Americans today are feeling the same way.

My desire to watch TV has waned and while I join my wife and watch a show  every so often, I can tell my mind is not with it unless it is a terrific movie or television show that has a good plot to it.

As far as my wannabe reading habits go – I started a short mystery novel May 5th of this year (Sunshine Hunter by Maddie Cochere) and I am still only about two-thirds through it. It appears I only feel like reading it twice a week.

I try my best to post short funny quips on Facebook every day, but even that has become more of a chore versus something fun to do. But I need to take my own advice – Positive Mental Attitude! Watch for this below.

So, getting back to the reason I opened this piece with a saying associated with E.M. Forster.   

My goal is that by the end of this post we all will be laughing because as the quote states “I cannot tell what I think until I see what I say” and my goal is to say nothing but stuff that will make us both laugh. Fair enough!

I have decided that what it all boils down to is “attitude” and I am determined to have P.M.A. by the time this piece is written. And for those of you that wonder what it is I am talking about, here goes:

Positive Mental Attitude

I am determined to turn things around and be more Positive, and while many of my friends have already told me this, I am also going to be more Mental (Okay, you can stop laughing now – I know I am mental). Last, but not least, you all know I have Attitude! There you have it – A good Positive Mental Attitude is what will get us through this time of our lives.

Positive thinking

One other thing we need to keep in mind as we get older is:

With old age comes “Multi-Tasking”:

We can: Laugh, Cough, Sneeze, Fart, and Pee – and are you ready for this– we can do it all at the same time.

Ah – Old Age!

Another thing I noticed now that I am truly considered old, experts say that caffeine is bad for us, fat is bad for us, sugar is bad for us, and guess what – we cannot worry about it because, well, they say worry is bad for us as well.

We only live once!

Sorry, not done yet. With all that is going on in the world today, did you ever think about running away? I did but the sad part about that idea is that I’m so afraid that by the time I put my teeth in, my glasses on, and find my keys, I’ll have forgotten why I’m going! And let’s not even get into where I might be going!

Where are my dentures?

Is it true I will turn 80 later this year? Wow! There is something about soon becoming 80 years of age. It seems the older we get, the more we think about various things. One of the things I think about is the possibility of my needing some type of operation in the future. Don’t get me wrong, the thought of the operation doesn’t really scare me. What does scare me is waking up after the operation and having the doctor tell me that everything went well … Short pause. But! There is that darn but as he continues his talk with me, and says: Oh, one other thing I need to tell you: “The digital medical records were hacked and mixed up, so we won’t charge you for the C-Section!”

What did you just say?

Okay, I am coming to the end of this post. So what do we do?

We have to look at life as though it is a camera: We need to just focus on what’s important. Capture the good times. Develop from the negatives, and if things don’t work out, just take another shot!

Just one more shot!

Hope this post brought a smile to your face.

Until next time!

Tigger or Eeyore

I am going to have fun every day I have left because there is no other way of life. You just have to decide whether you are a Tigger or an Eeyore.      

Randy Pausch

It is my guess that Mr. Pausch wrote that quote after being given the news that he had terminal pancreatic cancer. A review of many of his quotes though show that he was blessed with a very positive attitude about life.

Based on the above quote, how many of us consider ourselves a Tigger versus an Eeyore? Before I get ahead of myself here, let me mention just what a Tigger is as well as what an Eeyore is.

Both are characters from Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne. Tigger is a fictional tiger character originally introduced in The House at Pooh Corner, the sequel to Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne. Tigger has distinctive orange and black stripes, large eyes, a long chin, a springy tail, and loves to bounce. In the series Tigger can be found to saying to himself, “Bouncing is what Tiggers do best.”

Whereas Eeyore, an old grey stuffed donkey and friend of Winnie-the-Pooh, is like other Pooh characters. His character though is characterized as pessimistic, gloomy, and depressed.

For those of you that recall the characters, you will recall that Tigger never refers to himself as a tiger, but as a Tigger and goes on about Tiggers not liking honey although he maintains throughout the show that he is “the only one” making reference that he is the only one that does like honey.

By now you are wondering what does a Post about Tiggers and Eeyores have to do with retirement and old farts such as myself.

Think about what is going on in the world today and how it might be affecting our senior citizens. Are you a Tigger meaning one that believes your point of view is more socially valuable, more thoughtful, more realistic, and more morally admirable? Or are you an Eeyore, keeping in mind that Eeyores tend to say and think things like “No one can be cheerful all the time.”

And let’s not even get into it when a Tigger and an Eeyore do their best to convert each other. For those of you that can see where this post is heading, by now you are recognizing that it is a battle of positivity versus negativity.

Even though we are going through some trying times at the moment, I like to see myself as a Tigger meaning that even with all the doom and gloom some people like to think about, I as a Tigger look for all the opportunities that may be out there in the world today that open up many positive interactions. Eeyore’s on the other hand, true to their nature, can only think of conflicts and as such dread every conflict that may arise.

What stokes the flames – “Attitude.” Fortunately with today’s situation what it is as it relates to staying home so that those on the front lines so to speak can get a handle on this pandemic, we have both Tiggers and Eeyores. It would be nice if they couldn’t talk to each other but that would be paramount to eliminating Free Speech.

Unfortunately, attempting to make converts out of either Tiggers or Eeyores is not the answer as usually the more one tries – the result will be that they will probably be more Tiggerish, or more Eeyorish.

Both individuals have hopefully done their homework and as a result are proud of their reasons for thinking the way they do and as such are not going to be talked out of them.

Chances are that the Eeyorish’s are not an upbeat type of individual and as such may be down more than they are up. So, as we have learned over the course of our lives, someone with negative thoughts will, willingly or non-willingly, pass that negativity onto whomever is around them eventually.

What to do, what to do? We do what most upbeat articles, posts, or what have you stress the most and that is: “Do what is right for you.” Chances are that you are not going to change the other person’s view anyways. Now, I am not saying that we need to disagree with the individual and push that you are right and they are wrong. That will get you nowhere.

When at an impasse regarding something as touchy as a situation that might come about between a Tigger and an Eeyore, we could use the old saying: “Let’s agree to disagree.” Or we could recall the quote below:

“All of us are made up of the stories that we listen to, the ones we disagree with and the ones that we agree with.” – Stanley Crouch.

Having done that – the only thing left is to move on! Remember – “Life is short!”

Until next time!

Friend

This week’s topic is the result of a quote I read recently:

“I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.” – Abraham Lincoln

With everything that is happening around the world today and the fact that most of us, especially retirees such as myself, have more time than ever to sit around and think, this quote made me think back to a friend I met in the year 1969.

We were taking on what one might call a major life change as an opportunity came up for me to interview for a position in Jacksonville, FL which meant leaving PA. The friend I am referring to was one of the interviewers I met upon arriving in FL. Not only did this individual interview me, he became my immediate supervisor, and subsequently my mentor.

One of the things that we find when taking on a major life change is that there are few things in life that are more helpful than a supportive friend. Think about it for a minute. A friend such as this is there for you providing ideas, suggestions, and if a true friend, does so with a positive attitude. Your desire to succeed at whatever you choose as your goal in this new endeavor becomes their goal as well.

During this friendship you realize you want to succeed because it is apparent that they want you to succeed as well. Their desire for you to succeed boosts your own motivation for success. My desire to not let this new best friend down added to my own personal desire and subsequent ability to succeed at my own goal.

By sharing my goals, which at the time was to achieve a particular professional insurance designation, CPCU, (Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter), not only was he supportive, he provided guidance and stood by me to achieve the designation I wanted and was instrumental in my obtaining other designations along the way.

As we know, lives change over the years. Without going into detail, later in our careers, I became the interviewer and my friend became the subject of the interview, (due to a life change they were going through). The interview was successful and I was able to offer my friend a job as my subordinate.

What does this tell us? Cherish your friends, their worth is priceless!

Read more

Dementia Fairy

Did you ever find yourself questioning your own sanity? Think about it….at times we tend to do such dumb stuff, it isn’t surprising to say to ourselves, what was I thinking? It is times like these that I find myself questioning my own sanity. One of the good things though is that being who I am and being as wild and crazy as I am without even thinking about sanity – usually my mind doesn’t even answer me when I do ask the question. And that’s a good thing because seeing that it doesn’t answer me and though no one ever truly called me an intelligent being, I take the absence of a response from my mind that it is I who am still in charge of my facilities, in spite of the fact that my sanity hasn’t uttered one single word on the subject.

I do find at times though that I tend to remind myself that the year is 2020 and not 1971. Why 1971? That year comes to mind because we used to volunteer to do quite a bit of stuff back then and well, at this point of my life, even though I am retired, I just do not have time to do as much as I did back then,. Of course, one wouldn’t believe that were you to look at our daily planners.   But it is so much fun! True, these old bones must rest more frequently than they used to. Why, because where is it written that we have to get everything done today. Tomorrow is another day!

We are soon coming to the time that our “snow-birds” will be returning home for the winter and while that may mean social activities here in our community may slow down a bit, it doesn’t mean that we will slow down. Nope, that is the time that we take it upon ourselves to catch up with relatives we haven’t seen in a while, set some travel plans, attempt to do more household projects (ones we are physically able to do ourselves), try to learn new line dance routines, attempt to write more (who knows I may even work on that third book I started towards the end of last year), and other events/things we may want to do that, well, at times I just get tired thinking about all of them.  Oh, and by the way, did I mention that I frequently have doubts about my sanity?

With so many things weighing heavily upon my mind, it isn’t a huge surprise that at times I forget something. But being of sound mind and body I prefer not to blame early onset Alzheimer’s primarily because if I do, the dementia fairy will find me.

In conclusion, when you reach our age, retirement is a time of less commitments and more laughing. And if anyone thinks I’m crazy, well, I’d rather be crazy happy than any other kind of crazy.

Until next time!