A restaurant run almost completely by robots has opened in Harbin, China. Robots greet diners at the Haohai Robot Themed Restaurant, take their orders, prepare their meals, and serve the meals to them. They even provide entertainment -- and possibly violate trademark -- by singing and "dancing" for diners.
Each robot reportedly costs 200,000 yuan (about $30,000), and the news report claims that it has the intelligence of a 3- or 4-year-old. If a 4-year-old's only job was to walk to carry a tray from one end of the room to the other, that might be a realistic claim.
According to China culture blogger
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, the owner of this restaurant opened them because he wanted to make robots, "A part of human lives as quickly as possible." The owner envisions a future in which robots are ubiquitous to daily lives. He sees them operating at every level, from helping the elderly to working security. He says we can expect to see these changes in the next 10 years.
That might seem a bit preemptive, but we have talked about robots that can pump out a thousand pieces of sushi an hour and robots that are learning how to make you a cup of tea in the microwave without having its thoughts turn to world domination.