Employing robots and artificial intelligence in Chinese restaurants has turned out to be not such a smart idea after all, with restaurants in Guangzhou either closing down or firing their mechanical staff.
According to Workers’ Daily, two restaurants which made use of robotic waiters have closed down and a third which remains open has given all but one of the robots the sack.
Their human counterparts at the restaurant were full of complaints about their former colleagues. “The robots weren’t able to carry soup or other food steady and they would frequently break down. The boss has decided never to use them again,” said one employee.
Another waiter remarked that the robots were only able to perform a small number of tasks. “Their skills are somewhat limited,” she said. “They can’t take orders or pour hot water for customers.”
It costs approximately 50,000 yuan to hire a robot worker and then several hundred yuan each month to cover electricity and repairs. While this amounts to a big saving compared to hiring a human employee, it looks like robots aren’t ready to replace us just yet.
According to the boss, the only thing the robots were good for was getting customers through the door. “The robots can attract plenty of customers, but they definitely can’t reduce the need for human labor.”
Zhang Yun, vice-principal of Guangdong University of Technology, explained that while robots were excellent at improving productivity in the manufacturing industry where tasks are repetitive, they were unable to perform well in fields where frequent human interaction was necessary.
[Image via Sina]