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"Science fiction operates a little bit like science itself, in principle. You've got thousands of people exploring ideas, putting forth their own hypotheses. Most of them are dead wrong; a few stand the test of time; everything looks kind of quaint in hind"
- Peter Watts

Garbage Device  
  Autonomous garbage collection device.  

Very handy - like a more motivated Roomba.

"Gripes," he said, "tell me something. What would you do, right now, if you were me?"
The joymaker answered without hesitation, as though that sort of question were coming up every day. "If I were you, Man Forrester, which is to say, if I were human, just unfrozen, without accommodations, lacking major social contacts, unemployed, unskilledó"
"That's the picture, all right," Forrester agreed. "So answer the question."
Something was crawling underfoot. He stepped aside, out of its way, a glittering metal thing.
"I would go to a tea shop, Man Forrester. I would then read my orientation book while enjoying a light meal. I would then think things over. I would thenó"
"That's far enough."
The metal thing, apparently espying Forrester's discarded cigarette pack, scuttled over to it and gobbled it down. Forrester watched it for a second, then nodded. "You've got some good ideas, machine," he said. "Take me to a tea shop!"
From The Age of The Pussyfoot, by Frederik Pohl.
Published by Ballantine in 1966
Additional resources -

Compare to the to the high tech trash can from Islands in the Net (1988) by Bruce Sterling and the Robot Trash Collectors from The Velvet Glove (1956), by Harry Harrison

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Age of The Pussyfoot
  More Ideas and Technology by Frederik Pohl
  Tech news articles related to The Age of The Pussyfoot
  Tech news articles related to works by Frederik Pohl

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