Hipsters beware: the new face of coffee shops doesn’t have a face at all. “Gordon” is the first in a new line of robotic automated baristas at Cafe X in San Francisco, capable of taking and delivering two orders a minute, every minute, all day long.
The process isn’t just fast, it’s streamlined to be completely hassle-free. All you need to do is tap your desired order on your phone, or use the kiosk’s built-in screen. Within seconds, Gordon will provide you with a perfectly executed beverage of your choice, down to the artisanal beans.
Gordon executes these orders with the help of a six-axis arm designed by Mitsubishi. But in automating the process, is the art of the brew somehow lost? Cafe X CEO Henry Hu doesn’t think so.
“The art part of coffee is the expertise in creating the beverage, not how well you can repeatedly do it,” he said. Because Gordon can replicate the exact timing and recipes of the drinks designed by local roasters, your cup of joe is consistently excellent. According to Hu, “That is repetition a robot can do.”
Cafe X doesn’t suffer from rush hour lines or inaccurate orders. Its robot barista won’t misspell your name, and it keeps its own station relatively clean. Right now, the only use for a human at Cafe X is for minor additional cleaning, ingredient resupply, and help for confused customers. Hu believes that too is an asset. He thinks that without any actual coffee to make, babysitting Gordon will make for “a more enjoyable job.”
While Starbucks curries both favor and scorn among critics and supporters of President Donald Trump by promising to hire thousands of immigrants in protest of his temporary immigration halt over security concerns, in the future coffee shop employees may be little more than babysitters for their robotic replacements.
Follow Nate Church @Get2Church on Twitter for the latest news in gaming and technology, and snarky opinions on both.