Restaurant in China Employs Robotic Wait Staff & Chefs
The Harbin Haohai Robot Company in China has developed a robotic restaurant staff and opened a restaurant that uses them to cook, greet clients, and wait tables. The robots, which are multicolored and travel around via sensors on the floor, cost about $31,000 to $47,000 and run on batteries with a five-hour life. The move is part of a growing trend toward service robots, a market that could outpace even industrial robots in the next several years. (Source: Reuters)
Indeed, the bots could cause harm. But I am comfortable in the fact we will not see them for decades. You can pay a worker minimum wage now, or the bot at full price. Which would a business owner go for? I'd say the later. I have seen industrial robots leased at extreme prices in the USA. Again, server robots will likely be some time away.
However, if the butler robots of the 1980s is any indication, we want them to exist ASAP.
It's nice to have a local perspective on this, William K. Seems like generally we're all with you on the human presence, at least in a restaurant. Though as some others have said, self-checkout is fine at the grocery store because it generally is faster. Personally, i don't think I really need human interaction for that particular chore!
Ah, Cabe, so you already have nefarious plans for these robots. :) But I see your point, this is exactly the kind of thing they could be open for in less polite societies, especially when intelligent hacker types feel like playing practical jokes. Without trying to sound too much like the plot of a bad scifi film, the robots could even be dangerous in the wrong hands.
I completely understand where you are coming from, Pubudu, but I think that humans also work in the restaurant alongside the robots. I know, though, that even though sometimes humans and robots work alongside each other, there is a danger of robots replacing human workers. But perhaps also those workers can be repurposed in some other way.
I am surprised to see this robot setup in China. The fast food places in China have staff to clear tables instead of you discarding the trash. I had a clearer chase me out of the KFC because I cleared my tray. Evidently, this was her job, and I was putting her out of work.
I agree, Cabe. I would probably like this, depending upon how effective it is. I always use self-checkout at the grocery store, not because I don't like the human touch, but because self-checkout is always faster. There's typically a long line for the human checkers. I assume that's because some people are intimidted by self-checkout. If the robots can get the job done faster, and if I'm in a hurry (as I often am), I will always prefer the robot.
This is an amazing gimmick that shows what some will do to attract customers. I have eaten in a few restaurants in Dong Guang City and always found the waitstaff eager to be of service, and quite pleasant to deal with. Besides that, it seems that each of these robots cost at least 2 years pay for a well poaid wait-person, at least in that city. So this must be justa way to attract those with more money to spend who are in search of something new.
Possibly a robot cook could be a worthwhile addition for some reataurants, but I don't think that I would like robotic waitstaff at all, tips notwithstanding. There is a lot to be said for a good human presence. Leave the robots to loading and unloading those dangerous stamping presses, where they are a real benefit to society.