Robot Waiters Can Be Fun, but They Have Some Serious Issues With Interaction

This restaurant in the UK has four robot servants that can interact with customers 7 photos
Photo: Instagram/Robotazia
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Just as movies had envisioned a long time ago, robots are slowly becoming a common sight in our daily lives. Apart from the delivery robots that are roaming the streets, all sorts of machine waiters, bartenders, and even kitchen chefs, are starting to replace human employees in the hospitality industry. But is it all fun and games?
Cute-looking robots that are able to move around, and communicate, are starting to look more and more like a good replacement for human employees in certain sectors. Far from being shocking, it’s actually a nice surprise to have a machine serve you a drink. That’s the story of Rob, for example, who recently became the first robot bartender to operate on board a cruise ship. The MSC Virtuosa welcomes its guests to a futuristic space-inspired bar, where Rob is the one in charge.

Even the military is beginning to integrate robots that aren’t threatening, like the famous armed robot dog. A U.S. Air Force in California recently unveiled its new kitchen chef, a robotic arm called Alfred, who can help with food preparation. But Rob and Alfred aren’t the only examples. A restaurant in the UK went even further, and it currently operates four autonomous machine waiters.

Robotazia isn’t the only venue in the world to be based on a futuristic theme, but it’s most likely the only one to be brave enough to use so many robots as waiters. In a recent interview for Business Insider, the restaurant’s owners shared that Amy, Ella, Will, and Josh have their issues, despite being the main attraction.

It may be funny for us, but the fact that they are repelled by customers wearing too much jewelry can become a real problem. It seems that their signals get reflected off the metal, causing them to move away from the customers instead of delivering the order. Another interesting flaw has to do with communication. Too much of it, apparently, because one of the interactive robots never ends its dialogue with customers.

The unusual Robotazia servers are made in Japan and operate with rechargeable batteries. Of course, these minor drawbacks won’t be an issue once the technology will allow more advanced robots to be “employed” on a regular basis. But, until then, the Robotazia owners concluded that they’re not considering switching to robots exclusively any time soon.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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