Las Vegas Uses Tomorrow’s Robots as Today’s Servers
Posted on: December 13, 2022, 02:16h.
Last updated on: December 13, 2022, 09:36h.
Thanks to advances in technology, robots are making French fries, cleaning toilets, and verifying payroll. A robot even wrote this article.
Just kidding about that last one (for now). But robots are performing many tasks you may not have realized, since most aren’t public-facing. According to the International Federation of Robotics industry organization, about 121K robots were sold in 2021 to perform service-sector tasks. And Las Vegas is a prime US testing ground for their capabilities.
Below are some experiences that allow you to interact with robots in Las Vegas right now.
Robot Food Server
Servi, a 4-foot tall server built by Bear Robotics, delivers food to the diners at Rachel’s Kitchen at the District in Green Valley Ranch in Henderson. Employees load her up with food and plug in a table number. She then comes to your table and engages in light chit-chat. Human servers also take Servi along when they bus tables, loading her up with dirty dishes and sending them back to the kitchen.
A robot built by Richtech Robotics also delivers food to diners at Catchers Fish House on Charleston Boulevard. Instead of arms and legs, it sports four trays and moves around on wheels. Caribbean Mike, as employees have named it, senses if someone is in its way. If so, it will ask the person to move. “Otherwise, I’ll get fired,” it will say.
A Richtech robot server is also employed at the Trattoria by Chef Marc Sgrizzi at the Ahern Hotel.
The Tipsy Robot, which opened at the Miracle Mile shopping district in Planet Hollywood in 2017, features a pair of dancing robotic arms that can mix up to 120 drinks per hour. You order – via one of 33 tablets at the bar – from a menu of 18 signature $14-$18 cocktails. Or you can customize your own drink, for which prices will depend on the ingredients you choose.
When your turn comes, one of the arms will retrieve a cup and place it into a slot on the bar. Then it will reach for one of 152 bottles of liquor suspended from the ceiling. A garnish (including some the robot cuts itself) is added. The robot will then pour your drink into the cup, which slides to the front of the slot, to be retrieved with a QR code emailed to you.
It all takes from 60 to 90 seconds, and between drinks, the robots clean themselves with steam. Humans stand by to make sure everything goes right.
Robot Room Service Attendant
Among Vdara’s employees are Fetch and Jett, a pair of three-foot-high robots that deliver snacks, sundries, and spa products to hotel guests. Designed by robot developer Savioke, the robots still require humans to load their orders, but need no assistance navigating the appropriate elevators and hallways to arrive at your room. Once there, you will receive a phone call. Only once your room door opens will Fetch or Jett’s lid unlock.
It takes less than five minutes to complete a delivery inside the 57-story hotel, according to the property.
Robot Concierge/Dance Partner
Pepper greets guests at the Mandarin Oriental’s 23rd-floor Sky Lobby. He will provide directions, answer questions, tell stories, pose for selfies and, if you ask nicely, even dance for you.
The 3.5-foot robot is programmed to discern your gender, approximate age, and mood, and recognize your facial, body, and voice signals.
Robot Uber and Lyft Drivers
Robotaxi services from both Lyft and Uber recently went live in Las Vegas. Both use Hyundai cars modified by the driverless tech company Motional. At this time, both ride-share companies still send these vehicles out with human operators, just in case. Each company expects to have fully driverless service rolling in Las Vegas sometime next year.
Will They Take Our Jobs?
The novelty factor is great, but are we celebrating the machines that will eventually make human jobs obsolete? In 2020, the World Economic Forum released a report estimating that by 2025, 85 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in labor division between humans and machines.
To Las Vegas, a city with such a high concentration of potentially automatable jobs – two out of three, according to a 2018 study from the National Association of Workforce Boards and the Bertlesmann Foundation – this could spell devastation.
Bethany Khan, a spokeswoman for Culinary Workers Union Local 226, which represents about 60K workers in Las Vegas’ hospitality industry, said in an email to Casino.org that there are no robots in establishments where Culinary members are employed. That’s in part due to a 2018 contract guaranteeing job training and retraining to offset the replaced jobs.
“New technology being introduced in the workplace is not new,” Khan said. “Hospitality jobs will continue to change and evolve as they always have. The Culinary Union’s innovative technology language ensures that workers can grow with technology, have a seat at the table, and that new technology is implemented in a worker-centered way.”
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