Advances in technology are gradually challenging the applications and roles that robots can fill — and as a result this is changing their relationship with humans as well. Take for instance the food service industry, where robots are making ingresses across the board.
In places like airports and malls, some startups believe their food might be better prepared by multi-axis arms, conveyors or delta robots. It has the potential to save on both kitchen space and staffing, while still turning up delicious food in a timely manner. It makes it an ideal solution for airports, malls, festivals and more. This is the business plan of California-based Stellar Pizza. Meanwhile, burger chain White Castle has been using food prep robots for about a decade.
Over the past several years, there is a well-reported decline in server and waitstaff. Yet this restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, plans to use robots for guest greeting, hosting and take out orders. At this sushi restaurant in Japan, robots both make and serve alcoholic drinks for customers
Or look at the numerous food and grocery delivery services making last-mile trips with a machine from Starship Technologies, in what is essentially a cooler-turned-AGV.
Not only are humans actively interfacing with robots on a rather mundane level, but other humans are competing with these robots for opportunities. And in both cases, there is potential for conflict, growth and understanding.