The rise of household robots: A game-changer for African families

A fruit vendor based in Akoka, Lagos, and presumably in her late forties, who simply identified as Bolanle said she has developed a back strain from the numerous household chores she engages in on a daily basis. Bolanle, a single mother of three, found the chores challenging, especially having to multitask with caring for her infant twins. “I do the dishes, sweep the floor, and wash my kids’ clothes before preparing food. These chores have left a strain on my back,” said Bolanle. “I cannot afford a maid at this time so I just have to keep managing the situation. And neither can she afford household robots.

The rise of household robots

The rise of household robots is no longer a far-off concept that only exists in science fiction. With advancements in technology, these robots are becoming more commonplace and are set to revolutionize the way we live. According to recent predictions, which place grocery shopping is the most likely chore to become automated. Nearly 40% of household chores are set to be done by robots by 2033. This trend is not only limited to developed countries but also has the potential to transform the way Africans live their lives.

African households are often characterized by large families, extended relatives, and domestic staff who help with the day-to-day tasks. However, with the rise of urbanization, changing social structures, and the need for more efficient use of time, there is a growing demand for more automated solutions. Household robots can help Africans save time, reduce costs and improve the overall quality of life.

Like Bolanle, Ajadi, a bachelor in his early thirties also expressed how challenging he finds chores. “Before moving out of my parent’s house, my mom would call me to perform a house chore while taking an online course, it was very annoying,” Ajayi said, in the most amusing way. “If I have my way, I would outsource every single chore, laundry, ironing, name it.”

In many African households, the domestic staff is an essential part of the household. Hiring and retaining domestic staff can be expensive, particularly for middle-class families. Robots can help reduce the need for domestic staff, leading to significant cost savings. Moreover, with the rise of robotic technology, the cost of purchasing and maintaining robots is likely to decrease, making
them more accessible to households across different income levels.

One of the significant benefits of household robots is the ability to save time. African households are often busy and people juggle multiple responsibilities, including work, school, and childcare. With household robots, individuals can delegate mundane and repetitive tasks, such as vacuuming, laundry, and cleaning, to robots. This allows people to focus on more important and
fulfilling tasks, such as spending quality time with family, pursuing hobbies, or working on personal development.

Moreover, with robots, individuals can multitask more efficiently. For example, while the robot is vacuuming the living room, the individual can work from home or attend to other household tasks.

Women bear the brunt of chores in African households, pundit says

This ability to free up time and multitask efficiently is particularly crucial for women who often bear the brunt of household chores in African households, explained Chuks John, a graduate of home economics. “Women can use the time saved to focus on their careers or engage in activities they enjoy.”

While the benefits of household robots are clear, there are also some potential challenges that need to be addressed. For example, there is a risk that household robots could lead to job losses in the domestic service sector, which employs a significant number of people, particularly women. However, with the rise of automation, new job opportunities are likely to emerge, particularly in the tech sector. This also would push more people to learn about high-income employability skills as the domestic service sector is notorious for being exploitative.

From multitasking to sustainable living

The challenges the adoption of household robots present also come with opportunities. One such example is the need for adequate infrastructure to support the adoption of household robots. Many African households lack reliable access to electricity and the internet, which are essential for the functioning of robots. As such, African governments and private sector organizations need to invest in infrastructure, such as renewable energy systems and broadband connectivity, leading to a better quality of life.

Household robots can also help address some of the environmental challenges facing African households. With the rise of climate change, there is a growing need to adopt more sustainable practices. Household robots, such as those that clean and do laundry, can be designed to use less water and electricity, reducing the household’s carbon footprint. With the rise of smart home
technology, robots can be integrated with other smart devices, such as thermostats and lighting systems, to create a more energy-efficient household.

The future of automated work seems bright and its rapid adoption recently increased AI optimism worldwide. Who knows? AI may be the breakthrough for the African race.

Abdulafeez Olaitan

Abdulafeez Olaitan is a Nigerian writer.