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chaiguy t1_iu6uhib wrote

There’s a robot cafe at SFO and it always draws a few onlookers but I’ve yet to ever see anyone actually buy a coffee from it. Meanwhile the Peet’s kiosk always has a line.

I don’t think people want to interact with robots as much as corporations think we do.


BallardRex t1_iu6uup5 wrote

Maybe the coffee at one place is just better?


chaiguy t1_iu6xejv wrote

I wouldn’t know cause I’m not buying coffee from a robot, but I can tell you that I’ve seen people leave McDonald’s when forced to order from the kiosk and I’ve seen people leave entire shopping carts of merchandise when forced to do self checkout.


ASoundLogic t1_iu7dq6w wrote

I would wager the amount of ppl using self-checkout completely dwarfs the amount of ppl abandoning self-checkouts.


chaiguy t1_iu7gmmy wrote

Albertsons (a grocery chain in my area) completely abandoned self check out a while back.

But I’m sure overall you’re right.

Robots are still losing the coffee wars in SFO though, hands down.


ASoundLogic t1_iu7l1td wrote

Maybe for now, but the children who grow up with VR headsets strapped to their faces will not bat an eye at interacting with bots in the next 15-20 years. Things 20-30 years ago people would have called you crazy for are all too commonplace now. People routinely get in a strangers car (Uber) or have a stranger in an unmarked car deliver food to them (UberEats) which was ordered via an app with zero human interaction. Cars have "self-drive" abilities. This is all deemed acceptable by society now. Gen Z is already way more into phones and social media than Millennials. The tech evolution just seems to be the natural progression of humanity.


BallardRex t1_iu6xksc wrote

Wow, you’ve seen all of that? I guess I’m convinced then. /s


ASoundLogic t1_iu7dkwm wrote

The self-checkout may beg to differ.


chaiguy t1_iu7gtvy wrote

The only time people use self check out is to get the self check out discount, or if the regular lines are significantly longer.


ASoundLogic t1_iu7ixxj wrote

The store you are referring to does not seem to be the norm of any major store I have seen. Take Wal-Mart for example. There are more self-checkouts than manned registers, and there is no "self checkout" discount given to those who use it. Oftentimes, there will be a long line waiting to use the self checkouts. I imagine it will not be long now for a similar practice to arise with fast food checkouts. I can see normal restaurants using Boston Dynamics caliber "Spots" to bring out your food and/or utensils drinks etc. With companies paying top dollar for burger flippers, cashier's, etc, at some point it no longer makes sense to have that recurring expense. The dawn of the AI powered robot is on the horizon, and it will be life as normal for up and coming generations to interact with them like self-checkouts are to us now.


ASoundLogic t1_iu7jrfq wrote

I really feel it isn't that far away. Imagine restaurants replacing chefs and waiters with bots, and the restaurants telling their paying customers that there is no need to tip. The novelty, cost savings, and reliablity to customer will translate directly to customer satisfaction. I could see really premium restaurants having human waiters etc., but those would have exorbitant prices anyway.


chaiguy t1_iu7l1ac wrote

I mean, have you ever heard of an automat? These were a thing in the 1950s, but they didn’t survive.

Robots might have the ability to replace humans soon, but it’s going to be a while before they are more cost effective.


ASoundLogic t1_iu7ms61 wrote

That's actually really a funny example that you gave. It was labor unions that were complaining for better wages which ultimately resulted in the automats having to raise the price of their items, particularly coffee, to accommodate the salaries of the workers. This is what led to the beginning of the downfall of the automat. By the 1960s, they we're considered old and out of date. There were faster options like take out and drive through, while in the early 1900's, Automats were really only competing with full-service, more expensive restaurants. What I am suggesting is the same thing will happen for the same reasons, which will lead to the growth and societal adoption of bot usage. Automats lost out because the food became more expensive, and there were other options to get other food, more quickly. Like then, industry now will pivot. Bot workers will allow the food to be cheaper to the customer, perhaps made more quickly, while offering a more reliable service.


ASoundLogic t1_iu7olmg wrote

I would give it 15 to 20 years. Once you get economies of scale acting to produce standardized bots powered by advanced AI with vision systems, the price will take care of itself. There will be some company out there that will pioneer the standard model of bot chef, standard model of bot waiter, etc. Even Tesla is working on bots to interact with humans.


c0d3s1ing3r t1_iu80egz wrote

True! My family used to hate going through self-checkout because "it shouldn't be their job". Turns out corporations weren't willing to pander and eventually they caved lol.