Don’t send a bot to do a bricklayer’s job

LAS VEGAS — The bricklayers work with ruthless efficiency, scraping and slathering mortar brick after brick, tamping each down to ensure everything is level. By the end of a single hour, with thousands of spectators watching, they have built a stretch of wall that would be a day’s work for a mason building at a normal pace.

“I’m on the edge of crazy when I’m laying brick,” said Matt Cash of Charlotte, N.C., defending champion of the Spec-Mix Bricklayer 500, the world’s largest competition of bricklayers.

On the other side of this parking lot behind the Las Vegas Convention Center, a robot moves at a decidedly more plodding pace.