Is it the end for humanity?

Can I BEEP help you BEEP?

It had to happen. Somebody somewhere, soon, was going to realise that people -- the blood, the guts -- were a complete waste of time. Have you noticed how we're being phased out? First, the supermarket self-checkouts. Then the trains that don't need drivers. (This has always absolutely terrified me -- how can they possibly work?) Men are ancient history -- as if we need men any more to do anything!? (At this point I could link to about a hundred identikit features all saying something along the lines of: "Men. Pah! Who needs them? Now we can have babies on our own!" Although if said feature is in the Guardian it will be in a sort of "Yeah, rock on!" tone and if it's in the Mail it will be more "Oh, these ghastly modern women".)

Anyway, the point is that this has happened, brought to us by Xinhua in China. She's very lovely-looking, the robot saleswoman, but she doesn't have a soul. A tiny defect in an otherwise perfect answer to how to get round the need for actual human beings.

I'm going to start a campaign to Maintain the Relevance of the Human. Or Keep the People. Any tips gratefully received.

 

 

Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman

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The Brexit deal and all the other things Liam Fox finds “easiest in human history”

The international trade secretary is an experienced man. 

On the day of a report warning a no deal Brexit could result in prices rises, blocked ports and legal chaos, international trade secretary Liam Fox emerged to reassure the nation. 

He told BBC Radio 4: "If you think about it, the free trade agreement that we will have to come to with the European Union should be one of the easiest in human history.” 

Since his colleague, Brexit secretary David Davis, described Brexit negotiations as more complicated than the moon landings, this suggests we are truly lucky in the calibre of our top negotiating team. 

Just for clarification, here is the full Davis-Fox definition of easy:

Super easy: Tudor divorce

All Henry VIII had to do was break away from the Catholic Church, kickstart the Reformation, fuel religious wars in Europe, and he was married to his second wife. And his third, fourth, fifth and sixth. Plus the Henry VIII clauses are really handy for bypassing parliament in 2017.

Easy: Tea Act 1773

American colonialists were buying smuggled tea, when they could have bought East India tea instead. Luckily, the British Prime Minister Lord North, found a way to deal with the problem in a single bill. Sorted.

Bit tricky: Appeasement

So what if Neville Chamberlain had never been on an airplane before? It's hardly a moon landing. And he got peace in our time. Although he was forced to resign in 1940. Not quite as easy as he thought. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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