I came across a rather unsettling photograph the other day.

It was a picture showing an enormous amount of work being done on 10 different sites all at the same time, yet there was only one human in sight - and he wasn't actually doing anything.

He was standing quite some distance away, in his white coat and I daresay bearing a clipboard, and all he was doing was watching all the work taking place.

The work crews he appeared to be overseeing were an uncomplaining lot, despite effectively working around the clock, apart from the occasional break.


The only payment they would have been receiving would have been the occasional "medical" check-up or bit of a wipe-down from time to time.

The work area was flush with robots.

Big robots, and they had been specially built and programmed to drill holes, weld sheets of steel and place whatever needed to be placed ... in place.

They were building cars on a remarkable production line.

Yeah, so while it was one of those "gosh, wow!" sort of things which brought home clearly the fact we are in the 21st century, it also brought home the fact that the work of what would have been about 40 assembly people had dissolved.

Ooh, it's like a great science fiction film: the robots are taking over.

They aren't, of course, although there is a sort of semi-underground movement afoot in many places throughout this globe which believes they are.

The same people have built underground bunkers sealed off from the world above for the day disorder and chaos explode across the landscape.


I used to watch those docos on TV about the self-sufficient and, in many cases well-armed, bunker dwellers and basically dismissed them but every now and then I get this uneasy feeling they are preparing not only for doomsday, but also for "the last laugh".

For the world's gone just a little crazy lately.

Bad people are doing very bad things.

And the civil wars and religion-driven purges continue unabated ... even encouraged by whoever supplies the constant stream of armaments and ammunition, and the lad with the funny haircut in North Korea is bankrupting that land in the pursuit of getting his submarines to fire missiles off the US coast ... into the US.

Should that transpire then of course President Trump will order that every last missile his generals have installed under the sands of Nevada be dispatched west across the Pacific toward Pyongyang.

But they'll probably get it all cocked up and nice big shiny silver nuke-tipped skyrockets will land in Russia and then she'll be all on.

Even in heartland America things are fraught.

People continue to be gunned down, even police, and accordingly the semi-underground movements are talking it up that some sort of Armageddon is on the horizon.

It is indeed all a tad alarming, and I wonder how long it will be before the robots start taking notice and decide to take the reins, so to speak.

They, at present, have the programmed ability to work and construct ... but if the time comes that they learn to create and formulate thoughts at their own pace and needs, then it could all get really interesting.

If this whole ludicrous driver-less cars thing ever becomes a reality (nightmare) then I reckon the robots currently installing the steering wheels in cars on production lines will be the first to revolt for they will be the first to go.

But then there could be a great upside to this.

If these machines reach the stage where they take over the world then the one thing they ain't gunna do is stand on production lines and build cars for the dopey humans.

They will employ humans to man the production lines and those 40 people sent packing from the assembly room in the picture I spotted will all get their jobs back.


Employment will flourish.

I personally may be in for the rough end of the stick though as they'll likely impose some robotically stringent rule that all human beings must make perfect sense.

Mmmm, there's got to be a bunker space for me out there somewhere.

So, harking back to last week's writings (scrawlings) ... what's the word I discovered whilst embraced by insomnia one night - the word of four letters which can make five words? Star. For there is also tsar, arts, rats and tars, the latter for those shaking their heads being a term for sailors.

Now then, what's that nine-letter word which has all the vowels in it and spread out in the right order of a, e, i, o and u?

- Roger Moroney is an award-winning journalist for Hawke's Bay Today and observer of the slightly off-centre.