About a year ago today, the Anthem of the Seas cruise ship (yeah, the one that decided cruising into a hurricane was a good idea) unveiled its robotic bartender, and subsequently followed up with a commercial showing it mixing in action.
In the ever-evolving technology race we now find ourselves in, we’re increasingly confronted with this paradoxical dilemma: We utilize technology to fix something that was never broken in the first place. I tried telling the robot bartender my problems. Much like my real life bartenders, he (she? it?) didn’t care, either.
Yet the use of robots in every aspect of life leads me to one question: What are us humans going to do? I was going to be an actor, my fallback was a bartender, and now I’m unemployed just the same! Damn you, Mixologist3000!
The ’70s and ’80s seemed like a fun time, when we feared robots would take over the world but at the time, could just chalk it up to good ole’ science fiction. Terminator? Robots winning the war against Earth? Nah, that could never happen.
Fast forward to today, and we now have the mix of artificial intelligence capable of whooping humans in Jeopardy and robots that can move completely independently of human touch, at speeds faster than a cheetah, while still maintaining the strength of a gorilla. The combination of those two makes those science fiction movies non fiction. It might not be called Skynet, but it sure is scary. First they’ll take our jobs, then they’ll bully us and take our iPhones! I don’t know what’s worse!
I’m by no means some conspiracy theorist, though I do from time to time rock the aluminum foil hat, ya know, to protect against spies, aliens and whoever else wants to get into this brilliant brain. Yet I can’t help but look at this bartender mixing our drinks, the vacuums cleaning our floors or the drones delivering our UPS packages (and in other parts of the world, bombs) and slightly worry that we are laughing it off as impossible only 20 years after we created all these movies where the capability and stand-alone intelligence of these machines were dramatically (and for humans, tragically) predicted.
Remember how cute yet haunting the Furby was? They were little furballs that could (sort of) communicate with you and move a little. Now, imagine them with a knife. Furby was just a young furball back in the ’90s, yet he always looked like he was plotting something. Maybe 2016 is the year of his revenge.
We are only a few short years away from robots cooking our food, completely cleaning our house, serving our drinks and food at restaurants, being our bank tellers, our mail carriers and our pilots. Is this what we want? What will humans do? What are we here for? I asked the Mixologist3000 these questions like three times and never got an answer! Typical bartender.
Brandon Goldstein is associate publisher of Talk of the Town magazine and BC THE MAG Health, Beauty & Fitness.