Starting from the premise that Wall-E was a hardworking robot, a Chinese company has opened a restaurant that uses equally hardworking robots for delivering the dishes and greeting the customers.
Even though many Chinese corporations are working hard to demonstrate that original things can come from this country, others are keeping alive the conception that all that Chinese do is copy successful products and ideas. Unfortunately, this Wall-E restaurant, which was opened recently in China’s Anhui province, fits in the second category, as its owners did not bother to ask (or rather pay) Disney for a license to use the name of their most famous robot. Now that the restaurant has made the news, a herd of lightsaber-wielding Disney lawyers will most likely pay the owners a visit to discuss a thing or two about much they should pay to use that name.
More than that, the 10 robots that make the staff of the Wall-E restaurant in Hefei look a lot like the ones populating a similar restaurant in Chengdu. Considering that each of these robots costs $10,000, I guess that some Chinese manufacturer is making a lot of money designing robots that resemble Wall-E’s love interest, Eve.
While Wall-E’s job was to clean everything around him, that’s exactly the one thing these robots won’t do. Instead, they are rolling on a track along the floor, delivering dishes and greeting the customers. I doubt they’re able to provide feedback, so asking them for food recommendation will remain an unanswered question.
On the upside, if the waiters are robots, you don’t have to tip them. Supposing that in the not-so-distant future we’ll have robotic service providers exclusively (“oh, joy, more humans losing their jobs!” – hope that this is not what you’re thinking now), would you miss the human touch? I do think that human kind will need some time to get used to this, but in the end, if we’re served properly (good programming leaves little room for mistakes), I don’t see why we shouldn’t adopt such changes. Still, if robots are to take over cooking, as well, they should be supervised by a human chef, or at least programmers should ask for one’s opinion when programming the recipes.
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