Thursday, April 7, 2016

Clumsy Robot Waiters

If you think artificial intelligence is ready to take over the world, think again!
Between Microsoft’s millennial chatbot that turned into a racist sex addict on Twitter in less than 24 hours and the poor mechanical squad killed by Fukushima’s radiation, it would seem that robots, at least for now, possess many of the same inevitable flaws as humans.
Even the celebrated China’s ‘robot waiters,’ can make customers wring their hands in frustration! I guess they are not very different from humans after all – the skills of robots are predestined by their genetic makeup (read, program quality) and that, unfortunately, may vary.


According to NetEase (, two restaurants in Guangzhou that once enticed crowds with their robotic waitresses have since closed their doors.
Another chain, 合味来, is still open but now employs only flesh-and-blood staff members, explaining the robots were “fired.”
A spokesperson for the restaurant claimed the bots couldn’t “carry soup well” and only walked in a straight line, which, obviously, caused problems.
The machines also had trouble dodging other staff members and were "clumsy," and frequently knocking things over.
Some guests even criticized the robots as being too “mechanical”, that they are not “human” enough! Duh!
As criticisms of the cold nature and ineptness of mechanical staffers abound, experts are coming to a similar conclusion: maybe robots are best left to behind-the-scenes, repetitive tasks after all.
And with China transitioning towards a more service-oriented economy, perhaps training humans in customer relations – not robots – is the country’s best bet for success.

A friend from Australia is in town Thursday.

It was really nice to catch up with David Hughes and we had brunch at Jarrod & Rawlins a special place because this was where we launched  Liquid Gold Advanced Toastmasters Club on October 02, 2015.


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