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The June 3, 1983 Wall Street Journal ran a short blurb about jobs that robots would soon do and others that robots would probably never do. Darning socks made the list of jobs they'd never do. They should have put it on the list of things humans wouldn't do either. Where's my Father McKenzie bot?!?!!

What distinguishes man from machine? The robot revolution is providing new answers as more robots take jobs that once only people could fill. But two Carnegie-Mellon University professors have made a list of what robots probably never will be able to do.

In the near future, robots will be able to shear sheep, scrape barnacles from the hull of a ship, assemble toasters or television sets. Some day, very sophisticated robots may be able to set a table, change a tire, pick fruit or do somersaults, say Robert U. Ayers and Steven M. Miller in their book, "Robotics," published earlier this year.

What will remain the province of man? Dancing a ballet, peeling a grape, darning a sock, playing championship table tennis, delivering a baby.

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The robot image above is from the 1937 Donald Duck film "Modern Inventions."

Previously on Paleo-Future

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