As part of an ongoing series, Thrive is asking some of the most interesting people we know to tell us what’s been making them hopeful lately. Here’s what Nick Thompson, the Editor-in-Chief of WIRED, shared with us:

Last weekend, my 4-year-old son declared that he wanted to build a robot. I said, fine, of course, let’s do it. So we headed off to the hardware store, where I told him he could get whatever parts he wanted. We more or less designed it in the store: We turned metal paint rollers into the legs and two plant pots (one facing up and one down) into the body. Two small toilet plungers served nicely as the eyes, with an electrical socket working as the nose and mouth and a wine-remover stick as the mouth. Metal springs made for nice arms, and a sanding device looked like a suitable head.

We took him or her home and assembled everything with Gorilla Glue. “We’re done,” I declared.

But, no, of course no child’s project is ever quite done. My son declared that robots need to talk. So we added an echo dot. Then he declared “it needs to do things.”

I asked “what?”

“It needs to help people!” he responded.

“Great,” I said. “How?”

“It should poop cleaning supplies.”

“Why would you want it to do that?” I asked.

“Because then it would be easier for you to clean the kitchen,” my son responded.

I realized he had a point. It would be easier to clean the kitchen if your little robot was pooping cleaning supplies. And this made me profoundly optimistic. If the robots of the future are built to make it easier for us do important things like clean kitchens — instead of, say, manipulate democracy or replace our jobs — then we’re all going to be OK.

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  • Nicholas Thompson

    Editor-In-Chief of WIRED

    Nicholas Thompson is the editor-in-chief of WIRED. Under his leadership, WIRED has launched a successful paywall and an AMP Stories edition; it has also been nominated for National Magazine Awards in design and feature writing.

    Thompson is a contributor for CBS News and regularly appears on CBS This Morning and CBSN. He is a cofounder of The Atavist, a National Magazine Award– winning digital publication.

    Prior to joining WIRED, Thompson served as editor of from 2012 to 2017. Before The New Yorker, Thompson was a senior editor at WIRED, where he assigned and edited the feature story “The Great Escape,” which was the basis for the Oscar-winning film Argo. In 2009, his book “The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War” was published to critical acclaim.

    Thompson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former fellow in the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. He was a United States Truman Scholar and graduated from Stanford University.