By: Bryan Tropeano
Sure, we all like to tell ourselves that we go to CES for the thinner, bigger TVs or the this gadget or that gadget, but honestly, we’re all lying. We go to CES to pay tribute to our future robot overlords…errr…I mean, we go to CES to marvel at the latest and greatest in robotics.
This year has yet to disappoint with the most eye-catching coming from LG and their robot-run restaurant. Set up as a booth with a faux restaurant at its center, this demo includes a number of robots performing tasks usually reserved for humans.
They pour coffee, take your order, serve up your food, bus your table and even wash the dishes. These little guys and gals are an extension of LG’s CLOi line of robots. We’ve reported on them in the past and they’ve even made an appearance at CES.
We’ve seen CLOi robots at airports and in lounges and even caught a glimpse of these happy-looking automatons in hotels serving up drinks. This, however, is the first time we’ve seen them covering the full assembly line of food and drink service.
The demo saw a single human working at the “restaurant” with the assistance of his robot coworkers. A couple of actors played patrons of the restaurant, going through the entire robot line.
Entering CLOi’s Table Zone, the patrons were greeted by a robot, seated and then were able to place their order with a smiling robot who sits on each table. Once the food is ready there’s a robot dedicated to transporting meals to and from the kitchen. This is the same “guy” who will help bus your table at the end.
For now, they require an actual human to bus your table and place dishes in the transport robot. It then moves to the dishwashing section which was in its own area cordoned off by glass. It receives the dirty dishes and proceeds to wash them.
It seems to be functional, at least on a basic level, but is it ready for mass export?
As long as we’ve talked about machines performing duties in the workplace, we’ve argued over whether it’s morally correct to have them replace humans. This is too broad or nuanced a topic for my little brain to solve, but I will tell you, this demo shows that this is far from a perfect system and still requires humans to operate at all.
Our job in the workplace might change but it won’t disappear.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bryan Tropeano is a senior producer and a regular reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Washington D.C. and loves all things Tech.