Robots, in the form of televisions and a remote controlled police car seem to have control of this world. The protagonist, Leonard Mead, leaves his home in the evening, something just NOT DONE in this futuristic world where televisions occupy the every waking moment of the living. The streets around him are overgrown and in decay. They leave their homes only to go to work in the day and stay home with the televisions in the evening.
As Leonard walks out, he is stopped by the robotic police car. The car cannot understand why he would be out at night and takes Leonard to "Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies."