Restaurant Has Robots Cook and Deliver Food
The concerns that robots will take over our jobs may not be entirely unfounded. A recently opened restaurant in China now relies almost solely on androids to cook and serve their food.
There are two robots who greet customers at the door, four who carry trays of food to the tables, and three who cook the food. Two of the chefs are fry cooks, while the other exclusively makes dumplings.
The robots are short in stature and have round heads, but are distinctly humanoid. They are reminiscent of the character Eve in the film Wall-E.
"My daughter asked me to invent a robot because she doesn't like doing housework," said the restaurant's founder Song Yugang.
The robots have some intelligence, but need to be provided ingredients by human staff. They move in fixed paths to the tables, and are able to ask customers to move out of the way. Each robot costs the restaurant 40,000 yuan, or $6,500. This is approximately the salary of the average employee, but using the androids is ultimately more cost effective. "The robots can understand 40 everyday sentences. They can't get sick or ask for vacation. After charging up for two hours they can work for five hours," said Song.
This development, and Song's comparison to human workers in particular, will do nothing to quell fears that we are looking down the barrel into a jobless future, as these robots are quite literally taking human jobs. However, many technology experts believe that androids will create as many jobs as they take, if not more, and that it's simply a matter of shifting. While robots may become the waiters of the next generation, humans will be needed to manufacture and maintain the robots.
On the brighter side, the robo-cooks have proven popular with customers, particularly children, who reportedly find them fascinating and endearing. "I've never seen a robot serving food before," said nine-year-old Yuan Yuan. "I'm really surprised."