What's the latest strategy the machines are implementing in their quest to take over the world? Plying the humans with drink. As part of the lead into the RoboGames each year, meatbags and metal monstrosities alike gather in a San Francisco nightclub to celebrate BarBot, an evening where robot bartenders can show their stuff. BarBot 2010 featured dozens of liquor serving androids, some with impressive cocktail skills, others with the friendly shoulder and gentle wisdom we expect from more human bartenders. Check out an overview of the event from a local news channel, as well as some impressive footage of a robot that can slide you a drink down the bar, in the videos below.
"Barnold" can not only pour you a shot, it can slide you the glass with near perfect aim. Just make sure to catch what it flings. Easy the first time...difficult the 10th time.
As fun as the BarBot event may be, I think there are some serious trends to think about here. These are mostly one-off robots, and few will be developed into commercial units. Still, this sort of casual automation belies a much larger development. Sure, we've all seen robots dominating factories, but they're making inroads in places that few consider and at both ends of the economic spectrum. Robot scientists and robot meat slicers - neither exactly what you might consider prime targets for automation, but they're already here. BarBot is a sort of celebration about the comedy and fun at the idea of replacing humans with machines. The reality of that situation, however, is likely to be seriously complex and perhaps very difficult to adjust to. Or it may, as I hope, usher in a new age where automation allows humans to relax and enjoy the finer things in life...like a nice martini.
[image credit: RoboGames]