The inevitable robot uprising is still a few years off.
A string of restaurants in Gungzhou, China that used robots as waiters has run into a string of difficulties — ultimately closing down two restaurants and ditching almost all of their android assistants.
A big draw of the robots is their price — the initial outlay (50,000 Yuan — around $7,700 or £5,400) and subsequent upkeep cost is less than the wages of a human waiter.
But there’s a problem: The robots are, in a word, incompetent.
One (human) waiter said: “The robots weren’t able to carry soup or other food steady and they would frequently break down. The boss has decided never to use them again.”
Another (human) complained that “their skills are somewhat limited … They can’t take orders or pour hot water for customers.”
A third restaurant is reportedly getting rid of all but one of their robots in favour of traditional, living wait staff. One of the restaurant owners remarked that the robots attracted tourists, but weren’t economical. “The robots can attract plenty of customers, but they definitely can’t reduce the need for human labour.”