Computer Says ‘Maybe’
A Japanese restaurant recently tested out a robot chef to much customer amusement. But is this the answer to staff shortages in the hospitality industry? Aside from concerns about human redundancy, the experiment raises questions around technology, HR, customer service, marketing and more. Although the restaurant customers found the robots’ clumsy movements to be fun, there are more serious psychological barrier to overcome especially in sectors that value personal interaction. The FT reports that ‘respondents were almost evenly divided over whether they would use hotels where the receptionist was a robot,’ though 40 per cent did not mind robots carrying out cleaning and other non-customer facing tasks. That distinction may prove key for San Francisco-based start-up Momentum Machines whose robot can autonomously produce 400 burgers in an hour, equivalent to three human flippers. L&D executives might now consider in which business areas their own customers would welcome or reject automation.