Imagine getting drunk and having to do the most difficult task ever— dealing with people! Like, that’s just the end of the world. Okay, that was an exaggeration. But for all of such first world problems, technology is getting bigger and better. And Japan is undoubtedly the forerunner. As Japan’s first robot bartender whisks up drinks in a Tokyo pub, a wave of automation takes over restaurants and shops. This is a great move for avoiding the struggles that come with hiring staff in an aging society.
Say hello to the smiling bartender…
The chatty robot, made by the company QBIT Robotics, is capable of pouring drinks and mixing cocktails within a minute. This unique bartender is currently serving a trial run at a Japanese pub operated by the restaurant chain, Yoronotaki. It has 4 cameras to analyze the customers’ expressions with artificial intelligence (AI) software. A tablet attached to it displays a smiley face as it starts some small talk while preparing drinks.
Why do bars need a robot?
As the shortage of workers increases with each passing day, Japan’s government has reduced visa restrictions to attract foreign employment. However, with the shrinking population and the number of senior citizens making up 1/3rd of the total, Japan’s service sector is in pieces. For instance, in healthcare, the number of workers is expected to fall to 380,000 by 2025. Thus, the robot bartender is up for a trial of 2 months, by the end of which, Yoronotaki will estimate the results. Yoshio Mamiya, a Yoronotaki manager, sincerely hopes for the robot to be the solution to their decreasing staff. He adds, “There are still a number of issues to work through, such as finding enough space for it, but we hope it will be something we can use.”
Nobody’s perfect… not even robots!
Some of the workers who have tried out the robot’s services claim that their computerized rival isn’t free of faults. The issues that have arisen are regarding the robotic bartender’s speed and need for a relatively bigger working space. However, with a price tag of 9 million yen ($82,000) which is equivalent to employing a human bartender for three years, the aforementioned problems seem pretty minor (unless the robot crashes within the first few uses…Yikes!).
COMMENT your thoughts on the Robot Bartender whisking up cocktails in a Japanese pub. Would you like a drink too?