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Robot barmeni: Budućnost je sada

Robot barmeni: Budućnost je sada

Optimus Prime koji će izraditi/zahtijevati odvijače

Da izgleda kao Pris iz Blade Runnera, bili bismo uvjereniji.

Gospodine, umjetno inteligentni barmen, može učiniti gotovo sve što ljudski barmen može učiniti: može primati narudžbe, miješati i točiti pića, upoznavati ukuse kupaca i provjeriti je li patron previše popio. On čak može ispijati stotine pića za samo 11 sekundi. No, mnogi ljudski barmeni nisu previše zabrinuti zbog gubitka posla zbog androida koji toči alkohol. Jer jedna od stvari koje gospodin ne može učiniti je voditi ljudski razgovor.

Monsieur je počeo kao a Kickstarter projekat prošle jeseni, a sada će startup iz Atlante, na čelu sa osnivačem i inženjerom Barryjem Givensom, u maju isporučiti prve robote barmene kućama i poslovima. Tehnologiju će pokretati aplikacija u kojoj pokrovitelji mogu izabrati piće i naručiti ga „lagano“ ili „gazda“ ili čak pitati gospodina za preporuku.

Mayur Subbaro, miksolog i trenutni direktor pića u Lourou u njujorškom West Villageu, već je imala iskustva s robo-barmenima na posebnim događajima. Rekao je da se na robota barmena u velikoj mjeri gleda kao na novinu. I počevši od po 4.000 dolara, Monsieur nije mala investicija. Na pitanje da li bi se Njujorčani trebali pripremiti da vide umjetnu inteligenciju na lokalnim pojilištima, Subbaro je rekao: "Ne računajte na to."

"Ironija cijele stvari oko robota-barmena je u tome što nije tako teško skuhati piće, a ako uđem u bar, trebao bih moći dobiti savršenu Old Fashioned, nema problema", rekao je Subbaro. "Ali teško je biti kreativan, i to je ono što mi radimo. Mislim da će ovaj robot barmen biti zabavan trik na zabavama."


Šta je sljedeće? Život nakon ambasadora robne marke.

Barmen je možda jedno od najstarijih svjetskih zanimanja, ali današnji barmeni imaju mnogo drugačiju putanju karijere od onih prošlih godina.

Kako revolucija koktela i žestokih pića napreduje, industrija se razvila kako bi zadovoljila sve veću potražnju za inovacijama. Ovih dana, nekada skromni barmen, tražen je talent koji zastupa milijarde dolara žestokih pića, kurira programe pića u hotelima i restoranima i oblikuje šta i kako svi pijemo. I dok sposobnost izrade kvalitetnog pića ostaje bit karijere, postoji mnogo uspješnijih barmena koji mogu učiniti kako bi napredovali u igri.

Unesite ambasadora marke. Ovi vrhunski barmeni dolaze iz različitih sredina, radili su, bili vlasnici ili se savjetovali na raznim projektima barova. Često služe kao doslovno i figurativno lice robne marke alkoholnih pića. To je vrlo željena pozicija. Pogodnosti posla obično uključuju korporativnu kreditnu karticu sa izdašnim budžetom koji možete potrošiti na zabavu klijenata, medija i drugih barmena, a sve u cilju povećanja svijesti o brendu.

“U to vrijeme kada smo bili barmeni, ambasadori robnih marki bili su poput rock zvijezda. Činilo se da je to prirodni sljedeći korak ”, kaže Kyle Ford, bivša ambasadorica brenda za Cointreau. "Ambasadorstvo robne marke dalo nam je razumijevanje o tome kako industrija funkcionira izvan kafića."

Fordova poslovna i životna partnerica, Rachel Ford, bivša ambasadorica robne marke u Tanquerayu, ponavlja ideju da je ambasadorstvo marke ključna prekretnica u karijeri barmena u kojoj on ili ona premošćuju jaz između posla i korporacije odgovornosti. Ima nekoliko savjeta za ambasadore brenda koji razmišljaju o budućnosti i koji predviđaju šta će uslijediti.

"Dali ste dar da vidite kako prodajni timovi i agencije međusobno djeluju i kako marketinški stručnjaci rade s prodavačima kako bi izbacili proizvode na račune", kaže Ford. "Dugoročno ćete biti uspješni ako obratite pažnju na ono što ljudima treba i naučite kako se pobrinuti za svaku od ovih grupa."

No, iako se ne može poreći vrijednost uloge ambasadora robne marke za svakoga tko želi bolje razumjeti proizvodnu i poslovnu stranu industrije, to zasigurno nije posljednja stanica za barmene koji žele napredovati u svijetu duhova.

"To definitivno ne bi trebao biti kraj svega", kaže Chris Patino, koji je bio ambasador brenda početkom 2000-ih za tadašnju kompaniju Absolut Spirits. “Rok trajanja ambasadora robne marke je dvije ili tri godine. To je sjajno iskustvo, ali oženjeni ste jednim brendom. Živite i dišete jednim brendom. U jednom trenutku ćete se osvrnuti i reći: ‘Vau, to je bilo teško’. ”

Kada je Pernod Ricard kupio Absolut nekoliko godina kasnije, eliminirao je ulogu ambasadora robne marke, a Patino se našao sa titulom za koju nije očekivao da će je imati: terenski menadžer marketinga. Bio je to posao koji je mrzio - njegov prvi korporacijski radni stol i posao za koji je bilo potrebno da leti tjedno od svoje kuće u New Orleansu do Dallasa - ali Patino je uložio vrijeme, naučio "tonu" i držao oči otvorene za mogućnosti, stvarajući na kraju svoje vlastitu ulogu direktora trgovačkog zagovaranja i edukacije robne marke.

"To je pozicija koja nije postojala, a ako jeste, podržao ju je neko ko nikada nije bartio ili zapravo radio s proizvodom", kaže Patino. Smatra da je na barmenima da velikim robnim markama pokažu kakve uloge pripadaju ljudima koji znaju praviti pića.

Patino je od tada prenio to veliko iskustvo-od rada na marketinškim kampanjama do predvođenja aktivacije događaja do pružanja inputa o novim proizvodima-kako bi pokrenuo svoju vlastitu marketinšku agenciju usmjerenu na trgovinu pod nazivom Simple Serve. Došao je i do kraja, sa planovima da otvori bar u San Diegu sa kolegom barmenom Erickom Castrom.

Dvojac Ford također je pokrenuo vlastitu konzultantsku tvrtku Ford Media Lab, koja se fokusira na razvoj robne marke i fotografiju i proizvodi dvogodišnji časopis za Collectif 1806, pod nazivom "Magazin 1806".

Iako su konzultantske svirke prirodni sljedeći korak za mnoge ambasadore robne marke, oni s većim brojem proizvoda u proizvodnji ponekad mogu pronaći rampu u svijet destilacije.

Dok je bio globalni ambasador robne marke u Bols genever -u i ambasador brenda za G'Vine džin, Philip Duff je pokrenuo inicijative kao što su Bols Bartending Academy, G'Vine Gin Connoisseur Program i Bols Around the World. Njegov ogroman uspjeh uvrstio ga je u top 10 za ambasadora pića na Tales of the Cocktail 2008, što je prvo od mnogih priznanja koja će dobiti od organizacije za dodjelu nagrada, za koju je od tada bio i direktor obrazovanja.

No, Duffovo iskustvo radeći na Bolosovoj osnovnoj liniji proizvoda pokazalo se kao ključna odskočna daska za njegovu lansiranje vlastitog generičkog proizvoda, Old Duff.

"Ambasadori robne marke komuniciraju sa svakom osobom važnom u lancu i često imaju širok raspon kontakata", kaže Duff, koji kao stari tim proizvodi Old Duffa. “P.R. agencije, nacionalni i međunarodni prodajni timovi, distributeri, dizajnerske firme - takvi kontakti znače da možete stvoriti svoj brend u djeliću vremena, uz mali dio troškova i sa mnogo manje ljudi. ”

Giuseppe Gallo, stručnjak za vermut i nekadašnji ambasador brenda za Martini & amp. Rossi, također je prošle godine lansirao svoj nagrađivani proizvod, Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto. Ponijevši prestižnu nagradu za najbolji novi duh ili sastojak koktela na Tales of the Cocktail 2017, Gallo je na sličan način bio i samostalni show odgovoran za koncepciju tekućine i njezino prepoznatljivo zeleno pakiranje. Za mlade barmene koji su sanjali o tome da će jednog dana proizvesti sljedeći odličan sastojak koktela, Gallo kaže da se odmaknu i pogledaju širu sliku.

"Barmeni na početku svoje karijere trebali bi naučiti razmišljati izvan svoje mreže", kaže Gallo. “Potrošači će na kraju učiniti vaš brend uspješnim. Inovaciji je potrebna hrabrost, stoga nemojte prestati sanjati i dajte viziji dovoljno vremena bez žurbe. ”

Pojavom digitalno orijentiranih poslovnih modela, industrija pića podložna je promjenama, kao i svaka druga. Budućnost je puna mogućnosti za barmene koji sada ulaze u igru. I kao što su veterani koji su već dolazili naučili, nikada samo barmen ako odvojite vrijeme za razumijevanje svih poslova koji se odvijaju izvan bartopa.

"Budućnost je nenapisana", kaže Patino. "Mislim da nas čeka još samo." Zapamtite da ako želite biti ambasador brenda, morate živjeti i disati taj brend. No, potrudite se da uvijek zastupate svoj lični brend. To bi trebalo biti 51 posto vas i 49 posto brend za koji radite. Ne možete odati svoj brend. "


Roboti iz stvarnog života zbog kojih ćete pomisliti da je budućnost sada

Maggie Tillman, urednica

(Džepna dlaka) - Ako ste išta poput nas, vjerovatno jedva čekate dan kada možete otići u trgovinu i lako (i jeftino) kupiti robota koji će vam očistiti kuću, čekati vas i raditi sve što želite željeti.

Znamo da je taj dan daleko, ali tehnologija je sve bolja. U stvari, neke visokotehnološke kompanije već su razvile prilično impresivne robote zbog kojih se osjećamo da je budućnost već ovdje. Ovi roboti nisu super -inteligentni androidi ili bilo šta drugo - ali hej, dječji koraci.

Zaokružili smo stvarne robote koje možete provjeriti upravo sada, sa svrhom da vas uzbude za sutrašnje robote.


Sada ćete primati novosti od Good Food - Newsletter

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Robotski barmeni nevjerojatan su trik i prkosim bilo kome da mi kaže da ne bi otišli u bionički bar (to je kao da naručujete knedle sa ekrana osjetljivih na dodir u China Red -u). Ali prijetnja? Zapravo je moguće da bi faktor novosti mogao privući potpuno novu publiku koja nikada nije pokazala interes za koktele.

Mislim da barmeni moraju vidjeti prilike umjesto da prerano izvuku bacače plamena. Prije svega, ovi rivali botova imaju ograničenja. Čim u jednadžbu ubacite različite sastojke, poput svježih citrusa - ključnog sastojka čitavih kategorija koktela - potreban vam je čovjek na poslu. Bilo koje piće koje zahtijeva svježe sokove mora se probati i vjerojatno prilagoditi kako bi se uravnotežila slatkoća/trpkost limuna, limete, naranče i ananasa. Svaki. Single. Vrijeme. Vidite li da je barmen uzeo komad vašeg daiquirija od 18 dolara? To nije lukavo ponašanje, to je kontrola kvalitete, a ako to ne rade, možda otiđite na drugo mjesto.

Zapravo vidim ogroman potencijal za integriranje robota u tradicionalne formate traka. Momci koji stoje iza ovih naprava su inženjerski geniji, ali njihova koktel stručnost je upitna. "Bartending i cjelokupno iskustvo pijenja na društvenim mrežama nisu inovirani stoljećima", hrabro tvrdi suosnivač monsieura Barry Given u promotivnom videu na Kickstarteru. Čini se da u ovoj fazi primjeri koktela koje promovira monsieur naginju vašim standardnim voćnim, koketnim junacima iz 80-ih, koji su koketni, i mješovitim pićima poput odvijača (votka i sok od naranče), Cape Cod (sok od brusnice i naranče) i Twin Peach (šnaps breskve i sok od brusnice). Teško da je to prodaja za nekoga ko zapravo, znate, voli koktele.

Ali zamislite ako stavite posadu iz White Lyana da kontrolira recepte. Londonski bar stekao je međunarodnu slavu u posljednjih nekoliko godina uklanjanjem svih kvarljivih sastojaka iz svojih koktela (uključujući citruse i led) kako bi stekao potpunu kontrolu nad svojim proizvodom. Zaista, svaki bar ili barmen mogao bi pisati liste i tržišne pakete kućnim korisnicima i drugim barovima na globalnoj razini, pomažući pritom poticati njihovu marku i australska alkoholna pića za izvoz. Šta ako bi barmeni mogli zaraditi proviziju pri svakom sipanju prilagođenog koktela a la Spotify?


Budućnost je sada

Kako je COVID-19 proizvođačima stvorio potpuno novu budućnost, strateški prihvaćena tehnologija omogućila im je napredak unatoč izazovima.

Održavanje proizvodnih operacija na putu do dosljednog izbacivanja kvalitetnih dijelova nikada nije bio lak zadatak. Na mnogo načina, nastavlja se povećavati složenost kako se tolerancije povećavaju, a očekivanja kupaca povećavaju.

U isto vrijeme, jaz u vještinama stalno raste. S obzirom da se bejbi bumeri približavaju penziji, postalo je jasno da je proizvodnja izgubila privlačnost. Pisanje je na zidu. Potrebne su dramatične promjene kako bi proizvodnja postala ponovo uzbudljiva. Budućnost dolazi - i to brzo.

Naravno, to je bilo tačno prije COVID-19. Razumljivo, nitko nije mogao predvidjeti pandemiju ili utjecaj koji bi na kraju imala na proizvođače. Odjednom se proizvođači suočavaju s novom, društveno distanciranom normom s tehnologijama u nastajanju, automatizacijom i robotikom koje poprimaju novo značenje.

Jednostavno rečeno, ta budućnost je sada.

Prihvatanje nove stvarnosti

Kao i kod mnogih proizvođača, pandemija je pojačala utjecaj nedostatka radne snage na Roscoe, proizvođača PBC Linear iz Illinoisa. "Najveći problem je bio pronaći nove ljude i ubrzati ih, a zatim ih zadržati", kaže Beau Wileman, inženjer dizajna zadužen za upravljanje tvornicom buduće inicijative u PBC Linear. "Neefikasno je i skupo imati menadžer se udalji od svega što je radio i obuči ih. "

Inženjer linearnog dizajna PBC -a Beau Wileman pokazuje kako kompanija koristi proširenu stvarnost kako bi ubrzala obuku i poboljšala korisničku podršku. (Zasluge: PBC Linear) Ova situacija je navela Wilemana da istraži mogućnost primjene proširene stvarnosti, posebno Taqtilea, kao načina za smanjenje vremena obuke i smanjenje potrebe za nadzorom menadžera tokom procesa. "Od tada smo poboljšali proces u kojem se 70% treninga odvija preko slušalica", kaže on.

Imati AR tehnologiju znači da ljudi poput Tima Lecronea, direktora istraživanja, razvoja i dopiranja do korisnika u PBC Linear -u, ne provode cijeli dan obučavajući nove zaposlenike koji bi mogli skočiti kada se u Čikagu pojave mogućnosti za veće plate. Umjesto toga, novi operateri gledaju osnovne upute u predlošcima kreiranim i pohranjenim u kutiji s alatima. Postoje upute za posao za sve što je povezano s dijelom ciklusa, uključujući učitavanje, istovar, pregled i preuzimanje programa.

Proces navigacije prostorom proširene stvarnosti bio je relativno lak, objašnjava Wileman. "Bilo je doduše više krive učenja koja je umiješala koordinatore veterane i mašiniste", kaže on. "To je bilo možda pet dana za stariju generaciju naspram jedan ili dva dana za mlađu generaciju."

Wilemanov tim isprva je pokušao stvoriti predloške za sve i brzo je otkrio da sesije pretanko šire. "Međutim, kada smo počeli usmjeravati svoju energiju na rješavanje određenih područja trgovine (tokarilice, mlinovi, brusilice), otkrili smo da imamo ujednačeniju dubinu i protok", kaže on.

PBC Linear je također vidio mnoge kandidate za posao koji su istisnuti iz ugostiteljske industrije i koji žele isprobati nešto novo. "Ranije bismo te ljude snizili bez iskustva u obradi, ali ti novi alati stvaraju nove mogućnosti", kaže Lecrone. „Sada imamo moćan alat gdje ljudi mogu iskoristiti tablet ili HoloLens da nauče zadatak i zarade tu plaću. Ako im se sviđa, mogu prijeći na sljedeći nivo tako što će naučiti sljedeći skup uputa. ”

Prednosti tehnologije nadilaze proces, kaže Wileman. „Omogućava nam da zadržimo pažnju mlađih ljudi tokom obuke, a dodaje i malo uzbuđenja oko obavljanja posla. To čini proizvodnju malo seksi i privlačnijom. To je nekako poput okruženja za video igre s uputama koje iskaču ispred vas. ”

AR tehnologija je također omogućila PBC Linear -u da stvori nove nivoe dosljednosti u bazi operatora. "Otkrili smo da svako ima svoje mišljenje o tome kako bi centar za strojeve trebao funkcionirati ili šta se kvalifikuje kao dobar dio, čak i ako postoje inspekcijski postupci i dokumenti", kaže Lecrone. "Kad svi gledaju iste upute Manifesta, to stvara dobar alat za identifikaciju kada određeni operateri trebaju ponovno pregledati korake 13-15 kako bi ih vratili na istu stranicu o tome kako želimo da se naši dijelovi obrađuju i pregledavaju. ” PBC Linear Direktor istraživanja, razvoja i informiranja korisnika Tim Lecrone (Zasluge: PBC Linear)

Naravno, iako se AR pokazao značajnim u rješavanju kadrovskog pitanja PBC Lineara, potencijal za nove slučajeve upotrebe zasigurno će porasti. Upotreba slušalica od tada se proširila i na pružanje vrijednih informacija o različitim proizvodnim linijama kompanije, robotima i 3D štampačima. Wileman također predviđa da tehnologija igra ključnu ulogu u podršci proizvoda. "Mogućnost da klijenti koriste Manifest Connect i pomogne im u rješavanju bilo kakvih problema, čak i ako smo udaljeni 1.000 milja, moćna je aplikacija", kaže on. "Vidimo mnogo skalabilnosti u tome kako pristupamo ovome sa svojim klijentima."

Prihvaćajući namjenske radne ćelije koje se lako pokreću brzo su se pojavile kao budući način rada za Rogers, Metro Mold & Design iz Minnesote. "Stabilnost procesa vodi do operativne jednostavnosti", kaže Ben Lampron, potpredsjednik Metroovog odjeljenja za potrošače i industriju. "Fokusiramo se na inženjerske ćelije s pravom opremom, odgovarajućim obučenim tehničkim osobljem i automatizacijom za isporuku."

"S obzirom da smo laserski fokusirani na projekte koje vodimo u radnim ćelijama, možemo stvoriti okruženja u kojima su šanse za uspjeh mnogo veće", dodaje on. "Uklanjanjem buke, možemo proizvoditi na profitabilniji način. Što više možemo unaprijed projektirati ćeliju, to bolje. Dok predamo projekt, posebno za vrijeme COVID-19, moramo se pobrinuti da operativni tim preuzme taj proizvod i radi bez brige o bilo kakvim smetnjama u inženjeringu . ”

Ulaganja u stratešku tehnologiju značajan su dio radnih ćelija-sve od automatskog premještanja dijelova, robota s alatima na kraku i autonomnih robota za rukovanje materijalom.

"Gdje god možemo automatizirati rukovanje ili proizvodnju, mi to radimo", kaže Lampron. “Vrijedi ulaganje i jednostavno postaje efekt zamašnjaka. Za nas je uspjeh jednostavnost upotrebe, obuke i implementacije u čitavom portfelju ljudi. Međutim, razumijevanje razvoja ljudi je možda važnije ”radnici moraju biti u stanju razumjeti i prihvatiti automatizaciju. "Ako se nešto pokvari u subotu popodne, operater ili tehničar moraju biti u mogućnosti sve popraviti."

Naravno, volumen je neophodan da bi Metro pristup djelovao efikasno. "Morate imati dovoljno volumena da opravdate potrošnju, kao i vrijeme potrebno za izgradnju ćelije i obavljanje inženjerskih radova unaprijed", kaže Lampron. “Fokusiramo se na dugoročnu proizvodnju velikih količina. Važno je shvatiti tu efikasnost. ”

Dosljedno trčanje uz gotovo nestanak svjetla omogućava kompaniji Metro Mold & Design da isporuči visokokvalitetne, blagovremene dijelove i radikalno smanjene troškove. (Kredit: Metro Mold & Design) Porodica dijelova za velikog proizvođača građevinske opreme odličan je primjer ono što Metro obično radi unutar jedne od svojih radnih ćelija. Jedna prostorija u pogonu ima šest namjenskih mašina za brizganje koje stalno rade. Takođe uključuje sve rukovanje materijalom, inženjerske crteže, specifikacije delova i dokumentaciju o obuci za svaku pojedinačnu jedinicu rada.

"U tom trenutku je to poput pećnice za jednostavno pečenje", kaže Lampron. „Pratite uputstva, pokrećete dijelove, pakujete ih i šaljete. Odvajanje korisnika u vlastitu namjensku sobu sa svim različitim operacijama uklanja buku i zabunu. ”

COVID-19 je naglasio važnost unakrsne obuke osoblja-što znači da oni koji su u početku izrađivali alate sada znaju objesiti kalupe, pokrenuti preše, provesti inspekcije i pripremiti dijelove za isporuku.

"Svi koji se nalaze u tom ćelijskom okruženju znaju raditi gotovo svaki posao", kaže Lampron. “Zaista se isplaćuje i nastavit će se u budućnosti jer obučavamo više ljudi u mnogim različitim disciplinama. Ako imate namjensko okruženje radne ćelije, možete biti i vrlo specifični u vezi s radnim uputama, jer znate da su samo za tu ćeliju. Svako ih može lako pratiti prilično brzo, čak i ako to nije u skladu s njihovim uobičajenim opisom posla. ”

Radne ćelije Metro Mold & Design uključuju automatizaciju velike brzine, strojeve za brizganje optimalne tonaže, pomoćnu opremu i dizalice. (Kredit: Metro Mold & Design) Radne ćelije postale su toliko uspješne u Metro -u da ne samo da je svako dodijeljen ćeliji sposobnoj za svaki ključni zadatak, već su brzo postale de facto proširenje korisnikovog prostora. „Ne samo sa proizvodnog stanovišta, već i sa inženjerskog razvoja i brige o korisnicima“, kaže Lampron. “Vrijednost koju dodajemo nije samo isporuka plastičnih komponenti, već dovoljno razumijevanje njihovog poslovanja i lanca opskrbe da možemo smisliti načine kako njihov recept za uspjeh učiniti boljim.”

Prema Lampronu, COVID-19 je vjerojatno doprinio ovom okruženju otvorenosti. „Ne znate ko će izaći bilo kog dana“, kaže on. “Kao rezultat toga, kompanije pozdravljaju pomoć tamo gdje je mogu pronaći. i uspjeli smo iskoristiti svoju stručnost na dublji način od samo proizvodnje plastičnih dijelova. ”

U proizvodnji će uvijek biti problema s ljudima. Čak i prije pandemije, pronalaženje dovoljno talenta (od operatera do izvršnih inženjera) za vođenje trgovine bila je stalna borba. Stvaranje namjenskih radnih ćelija još je važnije kada ne možete pronaći talent koji vam je potreban da iz njega izvučete ljudsko biće što je više moguće.


Za iRobot budućnost je sve bliža

BEDFORD, Massachusettle - Od kada se Rosey Robot brinuo za "The Jetsons" početkom 1960 -ih, obećanje robota koji će olakšati svakodnevni život pomalo je zadirkivanje.

Rosey, metalna sobarica sa ukrašenom pregačom, "na neki način postavlja očekivanja da su roboti budućnost", rekao je Colin M. Angle, izvršni direktor korporacije iRobot. "Zatim je prošlo 50 godina."

Sada kompanija gospodina Anglea pokušava poboljšati Roseyja-s Avom, pomoćnicom od 5 stopa sa iPadom ili Android tabletom za mozak i Xbox senzorima pokreta koji će joj pomoći da se snađe. Ali do sada bez pregače.

Tokom posljednje decenije, iRobot, sa sjedištem izvan Bostona, postao je jedan od vodećih proizvođača robota u zemlji. Prodao je milijune usisavača Roomba u obliku diska, a njegovi roboti za uklanjanje bombi zaštitili su vojnike u Iraku i Afganistanu. Sada, s Avaom, koristi video i računalni napredak za stvaranje robota koji mogu daljinski obavljati uredske poslove i možda jednog dana rješavati više kućanskih poslova.

Krajem januara, iRobot je proširio partnerstvo sa InTouch Health, malom kompanijom koja omogućava lekarima za kompjuterskim ekranima da iz daljine leče žrtve moždanog udara i druge pacijente. I ove sedmice, Texas Instruments je rekao da će isporučiti iRobotu moćne nove procesore koji bi mogli pomoći robotima da budu interaktivniji i postepeno smanjiti njihovu cijenu.

"Čvrsto smo uvjereni da je tržište robotike na pragu eksplozije", rekao je Remi El-Ouazzane, potpredsjednik i generalni direktor jedinice Texas Instruments koja proizvodi procesore.

Nadu gospodina Anglea u proširenju privlačnosti industrije dijele i druge kompanije za robote, koje su se borile za proširenje izvan industrijske i vojne upotrebe, igračaka i drugih nišnih proizvoda.

Programiranje robota koji oponašaju ljudsko ponašanje i dalje je teško. Ali mogućnost upotrebe tableta kao jednostavnih kontrolera osjetljivih na dodir privlači sve više programera, koji zamišljaju aplikacije koje bi mogle poboljšati videokonferencije, pružiti mobilne zaštitare i prodajne službenike i pomoći starijim osobama da duže žive u svojim domovima.

I sa vlastitim inovacijama koje su sada u središtu napora, tehnološki divovi - Apple, Google, Microsoft i kompanije za proizvodnju poluvodiča - također guraju stvari.

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Gospodin Angle (44), koji je bio na čelu robotike još od studentskih dana na M.I.T. -u, rekao je da je Ava "jedna od stvari u našem procesu koja me lično najviše uzbuđuje." Ali upozorio je da je robot još uvijek prototip i da se neće javljati za bilo kakve stvarne radne obaveze prije sljedeće godine.

Gospodin Angle procjenjuje da će prve verzije Ava koštati desetine hiljada dolara, što je dovoljno visoko da se kompanija prvo fokusira na medicinske aplikacije sa InTouch Health, sa sjedištem u Santa Barbari, Kalifornija.

InTouch već ima robote sa video priključcima u mnogim manjim bolnicama i spasili su živote u hitnim slučajevima kada stručnjaci nisu mogli doći lično. Ali doktori moraju voziti i manipulirati robotima palicama za upravljanje da bi vidjeli pacijente.

Gospodin Angle je rekao da bi dodirivanje Avainog ekrana tableta moglo da ga pošalje u pravu sobu i oslobodi ljekare svakodnevnih kontrola. Njegov sistem mapiranja, djelomično baziran na Microsoftovom 3-D senzoru kretanja za Xbox, mogao bi omogućiti robotu da dojuri do pacijentovog kreveta bez sudaranja s preprekama.

Kako vrijeme prolazi, gospodin Angle kaže da misli da bi poslovni ljudi mogli koristiti robote kao punomoćnike na sastancima, razgovarati i bežično gledati kroz Avin pokrivala za glavu, pa čak i voditi je u dvoranu za privatne razgovore. A ako se cijena naljepnice na kraju spusti na nivo potrošača, kako misli da hoće, Ava bi mogla, s naoružanim rukama, izdati pilule bebi boomerima ili čak donijeti koktele.

Ipak, s obzirom na to koliko su drugi robotski prodori trajali, Wall Street još nije siguran šta da učini sa svim ovim.

Kako je rasla prodaja njegovih usisivača i vojnih robota, zarada iRobota prošle godine je porasla na 40 miliona dolara sa 756.000 dolara u 2008., a dionice su mu sa 7 dolara porasle na 38 dolara. No, s povećanjem pritiska za smanjenje budžeta u Pentagonu, gospodin Angle je prošlog mjeseca rekao analitičarima da bi vojna prodaja kompanije ove godine mogla pasti za čak 20 posto, a dionice su se brzo spustile na 25 do 26 dolara po dionici.

Kompanija je otpustila 55 od 657 zaposlenih koje je imala prošle jeseni u očekivanju usporavanja vojne prodaje u Sjedinjenim Državama, a šef te divizije otišao je prošlog mjeseca zbog zabrinutosti da iRobot nije pokupio dovoljno vojne prodaje stranim vladama .

Frank Tobe, nezavisni analitičar koji objavljuje Robot Report na internetu, rekao je da će, sve dok Ava nije bila opremljena za prikupljanje i rukovanje predmetima, robot imati ograničenu upotrebu. Ali rekao je da je partnerstvo s InTouch-om dalo iRobotu prijeko potrebno uporište u zdravstvenoj zaštiti. iRobot planira uložiti 6 miliona dolara u InTouch, a gospodin Tobe je rekao da bi kombinovanjem njihovih tehnologija kompanije mogle proizvoditi uređaje po znatno nižim cijenama i privući više poslovanja.

IRobot se također suočava sa sve većom konkurencijom robotskih kompanija u Aziji i Evropi, mnoge subvencionirane od strane vlada koje vjeruju da će inovacije pomoći u pomicanju njihovih ekonomija naprijed. Ali analitičari kažu da iRobot ima niz ključnih patenata. Kompanija ima snažne rezultate u pronalaženju praktične upotrebe robota i njihovom plasiranju na tržište.

Prvi robot gospodina Anglea, izgrađen krajem 1980 -ih sa Rodney Brooks, M.I.T. profesor, bio je Džingis, stvorenje nalik bubama koje je završilo u Smithsonian -u. Pokretan mikroprocesorima sa samo 156 bajtova memorije, mogao je hodati na šest nogu. Također je pokazalo da se roboti mogu programirati da reagiraju na samo nekoliko osnovnih pravila.

Taj je projekt pobudio interes gospodina Anglea za izgradnju jednostavnih, praktičnih robota. On, dr. Brooks i još jedan M.I.T. diplomirala, Helen Greiner, započela je iRobot 1991., rekao je, "za izradu robota koji bi svakodnevno dodirivali živote ljudi."

Ali taj cilj se pokazao težim nego što su očekivali, a uslijedila je decenija pokušaja i grešaka. Stojeći kraj izloga ovdje u sjedištu kompanije, g. Angle je ukazao na neke od njenih prvih napora, uključujući robotsku lutku za Hasbro pod nazivom Moja prava beba i mala vunasta plava i narančasta stvorenja koja su mogla juriti i skrivati ​​se.

Ali, rekao je, “od prvih trenutaka iRobota, kad god bih se predstavio nekome u avionu ili bilo gdje, odgovor gotovo 100 posto nije bio 'Kako ste?' Nego 'Kada ćete ići očistiti moje podove? 'Htjeli su Roseyja iz' The Jetsons -a '. "

"Tako smo vrlo, vrlo rano znali da je čišćenje odlična primjena, samo da možemo smisliti kako to učiniti", dodao je.

Ali tek 2002. sve se složilo, s uvođenjem vakuuma Roomba i hitnom vojnom potražnjom za robotima koji bi mogli provjeriti opasne špilje u Afganistanu. Pokazalo se da su ti roboti od 50 do 60 kilograma, nazvani Packbots, također bili kritični u Iraku u razoružavanju bombi uz cestu i kao stražari na kontrolnim punktovima.

Od tada je rasprodaja novih verzija Roombe, čija je cijena od 350 do 600 dolara svaka, posebno u inozemstvu. Kompanija je počela prodavati robote za čišćenje podova u kupaonici, nazvane Scooba, za 280 do 500 dolara. Također je razvio lagane robote s video kamerama koje vojnici mogu baciti u prozore prije nego što uđu u zgradu. Oni uključuju model od 30 kilograma i malu, novu pet kilograma, pod nazivom FirstLook, koja se sada testira u Afganistanu. Čak i ako se njihova naređenja usporavaju, najviši zvaničnici Pentagona ostaju posvećeni robotima kako bi spasili novac i živote vojnika.

Cilj kompanije, rekao je g. Angle, nastavlja biti izgradnja robota koji mogu raditi autonomnije ili omogućiti "daljinsko prisustvo"-tehnički govor koji omogućava ljudima da budu na dva mjesta u isto vrijeme.

(Gospodin Angle zna nešto o tom jeziku. Nakon što se 2008. pojavio kao profesor MIT -a u filmu s Kevinom Spaceyjem pod nazivom "21", režiser je rekao da je od gospodina Anglea dobio upravo ono što je želio. "Znate, vi ste jednostavno ne mogu trenirati štrebe. ")

Gospodin Angle je rekao da se i on radovao danu kada će roboti poput Ava imati ruke i još oštriji vid.

"Sviđa mi se ideja da ako imate zabavu, robot može prepoznati lica, preuzeti narudžbe pića, vratiti se u kuhinju, napuniti je, a zatim se vratiti i pronaći te ljude i dostaviti piće", rekao je. "Mislim da bi to bilo sjajno."


Dobrodošli u budućnost: Robot Room Service je ovdje

Jeste li ikada bili u svojoj hotelskoj sobi, naručili poslugu u sobu i uhvatili vas u ručnik kad su se pojavili? Ili ste se osjećali pomalo čudno što je u vašoj sobi stranac dok ste u ogrtaču - čak i ako vam poslužuje doručak? To bi uskoro moglo biti stvar prošlosti.

Budućnost je sada - hoteli na području Silicijske doline implementiraju robotsku sobnu uslugu, a uskoro će se koristiti u hotelima širom zemlje. Both the Crowne Plaza San Jose-Silicon Valley and the Aloft Hotels in Silicon Valley and Cupertino have android butlers who can travel as fast as humans, carry orders weighing less than 10 pounds, and even navigate elevators.

Now at the Crowne Plaza, when travelers order light room service or amenities from the concierge, they may be greeted at their doors by a sleek, silver, 3-foot-tall, 100-pound android called Dash. First Dash is loaded up with the ordered items, then he summons the elevator via Wi-Fi and calls the guest on the phone to say he’s arrived. When he’s done, Dash returns to the front desk and locks himself down in his charging station.

At Aloft Hotels in Silicon Valley and Cupertino, guests who order a small delivery will meet A.L.O. Botlr (short for “robot butler”), who wears a shrink-wrapped Aloft “uniform,” complete with a collar and a name tag. At the door, A.L.O. says “hello,” asks the guests to take their goods, asks how they’re enjoying their stays, and says goodbye. Want to tip him? A.L.O. even accepts tweets using the hashtag #meetbotlr as tips.

Meet A.L.O. Botlr. (Video: YouTube)

A.L.O. was first introduced in Cupertino last year and in Silicon Valley this year. And this month A.L.O. Botlr will be debuting at Aloft South Beach for a test run. But soon, Aloft Hotels will use the robot butler in all of its locations, according to an Aloft spokesperson.

“All of us at Savioke have seen the look of delight on those guests who receive a room delivery from a robot,” Steve Cousins, the CEO of Savioke the Google-backed company that created both robots. “We’ve also seen the front desk get busy at times, and expect Botlr will be especially helpful… freeing up human talent to interact with guests on a personal level.”

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Robotics: The future is now

"This competition is important because it says 'Do whatever you need to do to make it happen,'" said Kronschnabel, a math teacher at Irondale High School in New Brighton. "Instead, it says, 'Here's a box of motors and some aluminum parts and a footprint.' The students aren't used to that. They're used to the recipe, the formula, and they're not getting that."

As educators statewide push for better science and math education, the popularity of an international robotics competition has grown drastically among Minnesota high schools. The FIRST Robotics competition, where high school students build complicated robots to push a ball along and do other tasks, has 54 Minnesota teams this year, up from just two in 2006.

Area educators attribute the growth to dramatic fundraising by Minnesota technology companies desperate to encourage future engineers and a statewide push to improve science and technology education.

"It's a long-term investment," said Dr. Stephen Oesterle, senior vice president of medicine and technology for Medtronic, who pushed other companies to donate.

Later this month, more than 50 teams will meet for the first Minnesota regional at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus.

"Even the football players and the popular kids at our school are like, 'Oh my gosh, how did you do this?'" said Callie Krummel, an Irondale junior. "Yeah, I built a robot in six weeks with the help of 10 other people. It's pretty darn cool."

On a February afternoon, the robotics team from Minneapolis' Patrick Henry High School -- the "Herobotics" -- toiled in a work room at the Bakken Museum, a science education museum named after one of Medtronic's founders, Earl Bakken. After a pizza break, the team started figuring out how to attach an arm to the robot to control a 7-pound, 40-inch diameter inflatable ball.

"I really liked the idea of having to build, program and drive the robot," junior Guillermo Andrade said. "I want to be a computer programmer."

Junior Ashley Hart laughed about early challenges the team faced: "The first time we ran the robot, it just went crazy. We thought we had it under control, but it just went berserk and ran into the wall."

The competition started in New Hampshire in 1992. Now, it includes more than 1,500 teams from around the world. Founded by entrepreneur Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway, FIRST stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology."

Teams that win their regional competitions get to go to the FIRST Championships in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.

In Minnesota, the program's quick growth is largely attributed to Minnesota technology companies that fund the teams, which need $6,000 each just to get in the door, as well as the efforts of Ken Rosen, an organizer who scoured the state for high school teams to compete.

Minnesota companies are providing more than $550,000 for teams statewide, which includes almost $100,000 from Medtronic and its foundation as well as $72,000 from Boston Scientific and $60,000 from the 3M Foundation.

"The issue is, of course, that there aren't enough graduates coming out of the U.S. colleges that are really interested in electrical and mechanical engineering," Oesterle said. "It starts in high school. When kids go to college, they have to have some sense that this is a really cool thing to do."

Statewide, the Minnesota Department of Education has also stepped up its funding of STEM classes -- or classes in science, technology, engineering and math. Over the 2006-07 and 2007-08 school years, the department has distributed a combined $4.4 million in grants to school districts for STEM programs.

Officials think that this focus might have made high school administrators more likely to approve teams at their schools.

"This is my 19th year in education, and I've never seen a program that has caused kids to become so fired up about something related to school," said Jim Lynch, a technology coordinator at Eagan High School who works with the school's robotics team, "Blue Twilight." "We have to push them out the door in the evening."

While the Eagan team toiled away one Sunday, Sen. Jim Carlson, DFL-Eagan, a mechanical engineer, stopped by to check things out. Carlson was so impressed that he stayed for two hours and is trying to arrange for the team and its robot -- the Al-uminator -- to visit the Senate Education Committee.

"I'm first an engineer," Carlson said. "And when I decided to go into politics, it's because I've been all over the world and seen how other countries are investing in their young people. We're falling way, way behind. . When I went away from there, I was just rejuvenated. I can't even tell you -- I was so emotional, because this is what we need."


What Do All The ‘Back To The Future Part II’ References In ‘Mr. Robot’ Mean?


Viewers who are currently confused by Mr. Robot need not feel alone. There are a lot of “What the hell?” moments in the series right now. Those of us who watch and rewatch every episode of the series in order to collect Easter eggs and other evidence deeply buried within the show are as confused as everyone else. The storylines aren’t lining up. There’s too many unanswered questions. The most recent episode only exacerbated the confusion. We don’t know if Elliot was asleep or awake. We don’t know if Tyrell was there or not. We don’t even know with absolute certainty if Angele and White Rose really met. It could have all been a lucid dream.

“Mind awake, body asleep. Mind awake, body asleep.”

What we do know is that Back to the Future Part II has inexplicably become intertwined with the series and some of us are beginning to wonder if the constant references to the movie foreshadow events of a more sci-fi nature. Something is definitely going on, but let’s back up a moment and catalogue a few of these Back to the Future references for context.

In Back to the Future Part II, Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel to October 2015.

That just happens to be around the same period in which Mr. Robot begins. Here’s Elliot’s phone from the pilot of the series:

Why does Elliot’s phone in the pilot suggest the date is October 2015, when the 5/9 hack takes place five months earlier? Something is amiss with the timeline.

We also know that Back to the Future Part II is, inexplicably, Elliot’s favorite movie. He and Angela have often watched it together.

Elliot and his father were also big fans of the movie. Here’s an old picture of them dressed as Marty and Doc for Halloween.

In last week’s episode, Angela mentioned the movie again while she and Elliot were on the subway. “We have to talk to each other on the subway. It’s a long way from getting high and watching Back to the Future Part II.

In this week’s episode, the Back to the Future references were all in the soundtrack. There were four songs in the episode specifically from the Back to the Future soundtrack: “Night Train,” while Angela was in the van “The Ballad of Davy Crockett,” also while Angela was in the van “Time Bomb Town,” when Elliot was in the taxi with Tyrell and “Earth Angel,” when Elliot was with Tyrell at the end of the episode.

Also recall that, after the 5/9 hack, Elliot somehow blacked out and woke up three days later. Where did those three days go?

Ordinarily, I might just think that Sam Esmail was being cute and dropping a lot of Back to the Future references for kicks. However, there are a few things that suggest to me that Back to the Future is more than just a movie reference it’s a plot point. When Angela goes to see her lawyer, for instance, there’s a blackout. The city has been experiencing blackouts, so it’s not unusual, except that when the electricity goes off and comes back on, the television newscast loops back about 60 seconds and repeats itself, suggesting that somehow time is being manipulated. Or that there’s another timeline where the newscast is 60 seconds behind.

Is this a more literal statement from White Rose than we might first assume?

Recall, too, White Rose’s obsessions with time and clocks.

“Have you ever wondered what the world would look like without the 5/9 hack?” White Rose asked Dom in this season’s fourth episode. “In fact, some believe there are alternate timelines playing out that very scenario. That the lives we are leading are the people that we have become.”

Bingo: Alternate timelines.

I don’t want to get too far afield here, because I’m not ready to believe that there is a sci-fi element at play here. But, alternate timelines certainly do go hand-in-hand with the dual identities of White Rose, of Elliot and Mr. Robot, of timelines where Tyrell is alive and timelines where he isn’t, of realities where Elliot is in prison and of realities where Elliot is living with his mother, and of the life that Dom almost had — where she accepted the proposal of her ex-boyfriend — and the life she has now as an FBI agent.

Back to the Future Part II was very much about alternate timelines. Marty and Doc traveled to the future — to October 2015 — and found Biff, who took an almanac, stole the time machine, and went back in time to create BiffCo, a company that invested in toxic waste reclamation and other heavy polluting industries. It’s hard not to see some parallels with E Corp, whose toxic chemicals killed Elliot and Angela’s parents. Is it such a stretch to believe — given the general confusion with timelines and identities in Mr. Robot — that there’s another timeline where the 5/9 hack never happened? Where Shayla and Tyrell are alive? Where Elliot is just a low-level vigilante hacker in October 2015 popping morphine pills?

Last season, when Sam Esmail put “Where is My Mind” on the soundtrack, he was clearly alluding to the Fight Club-like personalities of Elliot. Four songs from Back to the Future aren’t just happenstance. They mean something. If we want to know more about Phase 2, we need to listen.


Imagine your favorite bar in the near future. You walk in, take a seat, and a robot bartender scoots on over and parks itself in front of your stool. It looks a little like if Rosey from “The Jetsons” and Bender from “Futurama” had a baby, if robots could bang. Its base is slotted into a track in the floor and its arms are hella long, nearly dragging on the absolutely spotless, unspilled-upon ground.

Using facial recognition, it identifies you as a Regular™, and modulates its “voice” to the gender, accent, and tone you’ve selected in the bar’s app—“female,” “Midwestern,” and “surly” for me, please. Based on your purchase history, logged ratings, and taste preferences, it recommends a handful of beers currently on tap, along with a suggestion of which one you’re likely to enjoy most, according to its predictive algorithm. (It’s probably an IPA.)

You order verbally, like you would with a human bartender, though blinking twice at the appropriate area of its LED display would suffice. The robot’s right arm, the one with the fingerless, LEGO-like cupped hand, raises, grabs the proper glassware, and spins fancifully as it extends to place it on the bar. The left arm, the one with five Perlick faucets for fingers—each perfectly smooth and slightly tapered and obtusely bent as if poised to play a synthesizer in a minor key—actuates and fills your glass.

Just as the last drop falls, but even before it enters the glass, you feel a vibration in your pocket. The near-field-communication device embedded in the bartop has read the mobile payment information from your phone and opened a tab on your account, including a 10% discount for being a Regular™.

This might sound like something out of a science fiction movie, but all that technology already exists—just not yet pulled together in a way to create your Dynamic Robotically Optimized Interactive Drinking (D.R.O.I.D.) bar. That’s the thing about sci-fi: It has the habit of becoming nonfiction if given enough time.

As an example, the android-like robots from Fritz Lang’s 1927, sci-fi-pioneering “Metropolis” took over 73 years to find a real-life approximation in Honda’s ASIMO robohumanoid. In contrast, the video calling software in “2001: A Space Odyssey” took only 35 years to debut IRL with Skype. The military drones from “The Terminator” needed just 17 years to find their way into the limelight in America’s War on Terror. And the human/AI rapport portrayed in “Her” took less than a decade to appear in our everyday lives, thanks to Siri and AirPods.

Using that logic, it’s actually surprising our fully automated, artificially intelligent, smartbar+ doesn’t exist already. Given how far other industries have moved, it’s strange that bars and restaurants haven’t progressed more.

But there has still been meaningful change over the last several years. In the ways we interact. In the ways we order. In the ways we pay. And new habits are taking hold. Contactless payment and curbside pickup might have been used previously, but have become ubiquitous this year. And with a global pandemic wreaking havoc on the service industry, and upending the way we socialize, other habits that were forming are now stagnating. Habits that were ingrained are starting to erode. And habits that seemed inconceivable just a year ago are beginning to stake a claim to our future.

The question is, will any of these shifts in our behavior—in how we approach, consume, or gather around alcohol—lead to lasting change in the way bars and taprooms function? Or will our relationship to booze and the places we drink, and how those places operate, continue to look like it always has?

“The horrible and reassuring thing about history is that nothing ever changes,” laughs historian and author Christine Sismondo. “Not even a tiny little bit.” Sismondo literally wrote the book on bars in America, chronicling the role taprooms, taverns, saloons, and speakeasies have played in American life throughout our national, political, and societal growth.

She maintains that bars won’t look too different on the other side of the pandemic. “You can look back at this institution that has survived so wonderfully for so long, in almost exactly the same form,” she says. But it’s not business as usual for American bars. They’ve never faced a situation quite like the one they’re currently experiencing, battling social distancing and lower-occupancy requirements, earlier closing times and citywide curfews (and in some cases, temporary shutdowns), all in response to a full-blown public health crisis.

Not even the 1918 influenza pandemic could provide lessons for 21st-century bars. At that time, most areas of the country were dry, for one thing. By the time the flu struck the U.S., Prohibition had already been passed by Congress, and many municipal and state governments had banned the production and sale of alcohol. And by April 1920, when the flu was finally beaten back, the 18th Amendment had been ratified, ordering remaining bars closed and alcohol producers shuttered.

(Imagine facing a multi-year, globe-spanning, life-altering, indiscriminately murderous disease without the help of a little sauce to get you through. Eesh.)

But even after all that, and after 14 years of not existing in any kind of legal capacity, when bars finally re-emerged from the national embarrassment that was Prohibition, they looked much like they had in 1917. That’s despite the fact that, as Sismondo is quick to note, state and federal governments tried their damnedest to make bars different.

“They put sve these new laws in place about how things could get served, and who could sell beer, and who could sell liquor,” she explains, “but they came back regardless. And that’s one of the reasons why I think the bars now will be okay.”

She has a point. By all indications, this current pandemic is expected to last less than half the time it took the Spanish flu to run its course. And in this case, instead of the government working to put them out of business, legislation is being drafted at the local, state, and federal levels to help breweries and bars survive. But even so, Sismondo shares a common sentiment: “Dive bars are the ones that I’m most worried about.”

Even before the pandemic, neighborhood dives were starting to disappear. But now that their dark, cramped, and well-worn nature runs counter to the proclivities of a nation in search of bright, open, hygienic spaces, their future is even more uncertain. And changing the nature of dives to be more compliant with safety recommendations changes them in fundamental ways that run counter to their very existence.

“The last place anyone should be is inside a small, enclosed, neighborhood bar getting hammered,” says Michelle Hill, “and I say that with that being one of my favorite things.” Hill has owned and operated the St. James Tavern—a bona fide dive—in Columbus, Ohio for 24 years.

Hill made the decision to close the St. James on March 14, one day before Ohio Governor Mike DeWine ordered bars and restaurants across the state shut to in-house patrons. She’s remained closed since. “It’s going to be damn near impossible for me to put safety measures in place,” Hill says. “And even if I did, I could probably have about 12 people in here safely.”

At that point, she wouldn’t be profitable. And worse, she’d be risking the health and safety of her own community. So she’s digging in, hunkering down, and planning to stay closed until she, and the country as a whole, can open up safely again. Even with positive vaccine news, she’s prepared to hold fast. “I’m just going to stay closed, as long as I don’t run out of PPP money,” she laments. “It could be next spring or summer, quite honestly. Even fall with the rate things are going.”

The fact of the matter is that change isn’t easy for businesses like hers. She’s considered putting in a small kitchen to rent out, or removing one of the pool tables to install a few tall booths, or expanding into her paltry outdoor space with a few stools. But there’s hardly any wiggle room, physically or philosophically.

“People come to a bar like mine to sit and talk to each other closely, to have conversations with their bartender, to play pool, and to get a little drunk. I could try to change things up and put in barriers, but that would lose the entire vibe and point of being in your neighborhood bar.”

While history may tell us that most things nemojte change, current realities suggest some simply can’t. But that doesn’t mean everything will look identical when things come back to life.

“All the laws around alcohol were written during Prohibition,” says Jeff Libby, founder of Table Tap. “So they didn’t foresee people pouring beers from iPads and things.” He’s right about that. Even in their wildest dreams, the puritanical politicos of the early 20th century could have never conceived of a company like Libby’s.

Table Tap specializes in self-pour technology, which allows consumers to bypass the bartender and streamline their drinking experience by serving themselves. This happens, most commonly, via the WallTender, a system that consists of wall-mounted taps, each unlocked by an RFID card reader, and controlled via an iPad display. Think of it like an age-protected, ounce-monitored, interconnected Coca-Cola Freestyle machine for beer, but without the ability to mix and match.

Libby has long believed Table Tap’s solutions make its clients’ businesses more efficient, more profitable, and more enjoyable. But even he admits it can be difficult to overcome the novelty of it all and affect customer habits. “People were very close-minded to the idea in the beginning, everyone kind of knocked it and said it was just a fad, that it was kinda cheesy,” he explains. “It’s always been a challenge to get people to change their behavior.”

In a pandemic, however, when consumers are trending toward less interaction and more automation, self-pour technology is uniquely suited to grow. And there’s plenty of room for innovation. Libby notes that Table Tap is currently in development of a smartphone-based, entirely touchless tap system that uses QR codes instead of RFID cards, with a patent already filed.

But while systems like the WallTender may solve some problems, they create others. Even though the taps aren’t all grouped together, they’re still well within six feet of each other, meaning two people pouring at adjacent stations would not be socially distant. And instead of one or two bartenders being the only ones dispensing beer, each customer is, at present, required to pull the handle, exponentially increasing the amount of contact points and germs being swapped.

Without a crystal ball it’s difficult to discern if self-pour systems or other technological advancements will have a seismic and long-lasting impact on the beer industry, or if they’ll go the way of the Cascadian Dark Ale or Brut IPA and fizzle out after a few years of buzz.

Daniel Levine, a futurist, trends expert, and director of the Avant-Guide Institute, thinks there’s at least a marginal chance for the tech to endure. “One of the things the pandemic has been revealing is that a bunch of trends we didn’t expect to be on our doorstep so quickly, are all of a sudden right in front of us,” he explains. And one of those trends is self-service.

Self-service can take many forms, whether that’s ordering for yourself with a QR code menu, pouring your own via tech like the WallTender, or checking yourself out with a service like Arryved. Arryved’s business has really “thryved” (I’m so sorry) during the pandemic. From March through July, the company’s touchless transaction point of sale service grew from about 400 to 600 “craft beverage establishments”—breweries, distilleries, cideries, and the like—amounting to about $1.5 million in transactions per month.

While Levine sees the self-service trend continuing beyond the pandemic, he doesn’t see it as a universal change. The way he describes it is more of a tiered adoption, a bifurcation of technology and humanity. The lower tier—dives, neighborhood bars, and “bar” bars—likely won’t embrace new technologies, for a variety of reasons. Maybe the initial investment cost is too high. Maybe that kind of change wouldn’t resonate with clientele. Or maybe it doesn’t fit within the “concept” of the establishment.

The middle tier—sports bars, fast-casual restaurants, and “run-of-the-mill” taprooms—are much more likely to include technology in their businesses. These places are about volume, and they’ll entertain anything they can to increase that volume and decrease wait time and impediments to ordering.

Levine compares the mindset to fast food restaurants. “A lot of McDonald’s franchises, for example, are putting in touchscreens,” he says. “And they’re doing that because it will enable them to employ fewer people, and it’s faster and better for them. But this technology is not always better for the customer.”

Think about using the janky self-service screen that’s increasingly popular at airport bars and restaurants. At best, it’s frustratingly complex, requiring you to swipe through page after page of questionably categorized menu items like some schmo thumbing through the yellow pages, searching for anything that might taste decent but sufficiently numb you until the drink cart rolls out. At worst, it’s a completely unusable bricked iPad, supposedly refurbished after some college student atop a giant inflatable swan dropped it in a pool last spring break.

But Levine is quick to note that different types of consumers prefer different types of service. “It’s hard to say which comes first with trends, the chicken or the egg. They sort of grow up together, with the technology changing us, and us changing the technology.”

He draws the analogy of a grocery store. Older people generally check out with an actual human cashier because they don’t want to deal with technology and the hassle of doing it themselves. But younger shoppers prefer the self-checkout terminals because they don’t want to deal with people. Even though it takes them a lot longer since they suck at scanning items, use way too many bags, and definitely do not know the numerical keycode for the avocado or kale they’re buying. So there’s a generational component at play, as well.

Getting back to Levine’s tiered theory: That top tier—high-end cocktail bars, bars in fine-dining restaurants, and most craft breweries—will be unlikely to adopt any automated practices. “We’re going to see humans be više involved here, because interacting with humans is becoming a luxury. And you’re paying a premium for that interaction, for that service.”

He adds a final thought to really punctuate the exchange. “Outside that premium sphere, the robots are coming for our jobs, eventually, and it’s disingenuous to say otherwise. But it’s hard to get people to change their behavior. That’s maybe the hardest thing. When the pandemic is in our rearview mirror, I think mnogo of the future is going to look mnogo like the past did.”

So a futurist and a historian walk into a bar and both order from an actual human bartender. To je to. That’s the joke.

When Jester King Brewery closed down in March, its employees had no idea when it was going to reopen, or, when it did, what their reality would look like. Because Jester King is a literal farmhouse brewery whose in-person experience always relied heavily on the communal nature of its space and its beer—and often generated festival-sized crowds—the idea of limiting human interaction and increasing social distancing was daunting.

“We knew our entire experience was going to be different,” founder and owner Jeff Stuffings says. “We went from weekend days where we’d see somewhere between 1,000 to 2,000 people coming through, and we had to shave that down quite substantially to about 300 people as a maximum at any one time.” To get there, Jester King transitioned to an online-only reservation system that allows customers to book time in two distinct sessions, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, with a hard reset and thorough sanitizing in between.

In a video posted to the brewery’s website announcing its reopening in May, Stuffings explains, “There was a sense of excitement to slowly begin to rebuild what this place had been leading up to the pandemic, and to do so responsibly by really embracing social distancing, embracing the outdoor nature of Jester King, and by embracing technology to rekindle community, but to do so safely and responsibly.”

The idea of using technology to rekindle community seems slightly contradictory given the fact that, you know, the robots are coming for all of us. But to hear Stuffings tell it, it makes perfect, logical sense. In fact, he’s come to see real value in a lot of the adjustments the company has made.

“The biggest knock on our experience was always the long lines,” he explains. “And granted, it would be feast or famine, but on the weekends we would get overrun. Now with the reservation system, our staff knows exactly what to expect. We’d like to have more people on site than we do now, because revenue is down as a result of fewer people. But going back to that huge, festival-like crowd is not something I think we’ll do.”

To make up for the lower on-premise revenue, Jester King is looking to increase sales of canned offerings of non-farmhouse beers like its IPA and Lager product lines, each introduced in late 2019. Additionally, it has seen a huge uptick in sales via home delivery services, which has helped to fill the void, at least somewhat. But Stuffings is committed to keeping the number of guests lower, long-term.

He acknowledges that some people might be upset by that, but he’s quick to point to the enhanced experience for both guests i staff. In addition to the online reservation system, Jester King has pivoted to a QR code and app-based ordering system to streamline its service, allowing customers to spend less time waiting away from their tables, and more time with their family and friends.

Those are the types of advancements likely to endure after the pandemic ends, and to become ingrained in the drinking experience long-term: things that benefit the customer and the business alike. For adjustments like online ordering—both on-premise and off—and curbside pickup, the toothpaste is out of the tube. There’s no getting it back in.

Stuffings sees big things for online ordering via delivery services in particular. “I’ve absolutely loved the rise of third-party delivery options that chip away at the three-tier system,” he says. “It’s not that I’m anti-distributor—distributors are essential to the beer business—but the rigidity of the three-tier system is unnecessary.”

Other breweries with a national footprint seem to agree. Businesses like Sierra Nevada and Bell’s and Deschutes have all incorporated home delivery services, specifically Drizly, prominently on their websites. That’s the type of convenience consumers won’t want to give up on the other side of this. And something that can help breweries make up for lost revenue, with larger margins found in bypassing the distributor tier.

But direct-to-consumer delivery laws are different in every state, allowing some brewers to handle fulfillment themselves, while others, like Jester King, need to rely on third-party services. Similarly, not every locale is as conducive to nearly year-round outdoor drinking as Austin, Texas is.

As such, brewers above the Mason-Dixon line are having to get creative with how they provide safe outdoor drinking conditions for patrons during the less temperate months. Among the many, Solemn Oath Brewery, outside Chicago, has introduced what it has dubbed the Community Dome Forest, a grid of private geodesic domes outside their taproom. (Don’t want to drink in our larger, moderately ventilated hall that might harbor deadly germs? Maybe you’d prefer one of our hermetically sealed galactic igloos that undergo a space-aged ionized air cleaning between intimate chug sessions?)

Others still are facing the harsh reality that, based on their circumstances, they may not be able to welcome guests back safely until the spring, or until a vaccine is widely available—whichever comes first.

As wide-ranging, predictive, and influential as science fiction has been in shaping the evolution of technology, it hasn’t really promised us much about the future of bars.

The Last Resort bar in “Total Recall,” The Snake Pit in “Blade Runner,” hell, even the Mos Eisley Cantina from “Star Wars”—arguably the most famous sci-fi bar in history—all paint a mild portrait of a futuristic bar-going experience. Sure, the patrons might be mutants or aliens, and the decor might be unstuck in time, or there might be some semblance of technology here and there—but the bar itself isn’t radically different than what we’ve been seeking out for hundreds of years.

In each instance, a free-thinking, non-robot being is standing behind an elevated bartop, doling out drinks to, and chatting with, paying customers. There’s music and dancing and no doubt debauchery, which are all things we’ve always sought in the bars we frequent. There aren’t even any innovations in how the booze is dispersed. Bottles and taps and glassware like we’ve always used still reign supreme in these advanced and informed visions of the future.

It's difficult to extrapolate trends into fantasy—accurately, if at all—in areas that are so historically and thoroughly averse to change. Think about what constituted state-of-the-art technology around the turn of the 20th century. Automobiles! Airplanes! THE RADIO! And look at how far we’ve advanced over the last 120 years. Now look at the way a saloon functioned pre-Prohibition. Look at the basic operating principles of a tavern in the 1300s. Go all the way back to the kapeleia in ancient Greece.

While things on the periphery have changed dramatically over millennia, and will continue to, the way humans obtain alcohol has advanced in baby steps by comparison. In these troubled times we find ourselves chattering constantly about “the new normal,” and resigning ourselves to the fact that “things will never be the same.” But there’s plenty of evidence to suggest they will.

At least in the ways that matter most. The ways that breed intimacy and familiarity and comfort. The ways that affect how we gather and celebrate and commiserate. The ways that have gotten us through the darkest of times and served as the bedrock of our societies.

And that’s great news, if, like me, you’re none too thrilled about ordering your beer from an artificially intelligent kegerator on wheels.


Pogledajte video: BARMEN SHOW moskova (Decembar 2021).