Robots are now delivering snacks in the United States.
While this sounds like exactly why we should have robots, this new development does raise several important questions.
According to this United Press International article, the PepsiCo food and beverage company is trying the new “snackbots” for the first time on a college campus in California. The snackbots are portable vending machines that travel to set locations within a certain area so that people can purchase snacks from the machines.
These snack-carrying robots (history books in the future will refer to them as the “cravemen” of the robot population), deliver to 50 locations on the college campus. Standing three feet tall, they have lights and cameras, can drive at speeds up to six miles an hour and are programmed to stop if a person is in front of them. Customers order the snacks from their phones, and then the snacks are delivered.
One downside of this initial use of the robots is that they are only delivering healthy snacks, which makes no sense at all.
First of all, if I am trying to be healthy, I should walk to purchase my snacks, not lie around and wait for robots to deliver them to me.
Secondly, snacks should not be healthy. If I am paying a robot to bring me a snack, I’d like a doughnut or candy bar, not a stick of celery.
It does sounds like a good idea, though, and I am betting the snackbots become popular. And since we already had robotic vacuum cleaners and now have robotic snack machines, it got me thinking about a few other robot items that are likely just around the corner.
Gasbots or tirebots – Imagine you are driving your car (unless you have a self-driving car) and you run out of gas or get a flat tire. It’s no problem at all if you just ask a friendly gasbot to bring you fuel. It may take a while at six miles an hour and I am not sure yet how it would navigate roads, but it would be useful.
TPbots – Even more useful would be a robot to deliver you toilet paper if you are at home without some. It would also be super to have if you are at a public restroom and they don’t have any toilet paper, or don’t have the kind you like. It’s no problem at all! Just click on your TPbot app and your problems will be over!
Potbots – First of all, I like the name. Second of all, you know that people will use robots to deliver illegal drugs and now legal drugs, too. Also, the use of potbots likely will provide more customers for the snackbots.
AT THE SAME TIME, THOUGH, the use of snackbots does raise some concerns for me, and I hope that the designers are aware of these potential problems.
What if the snackbots gain intelligence? – Just think how dangerous these smart snack machines (or taughtbots) could become! They know what we eat! What if they decide to change the snacks so we can’t get the food we want? What if the snackbots raise their prices? If the robots control our snack supplies, they could control the world!
What if I don’t have my phone on me? – How can I order snacks without my phone?
It sounds crazy to say, but the future has arrived, my friends. Think about it! It’s 2019 and we have robot snack machines!
While I am concerned, I say we should embrace the future
I will happily eat snacks delivered by a robot and then have my robot vacuum clean up the mess while I ask Alexa or whatever to turn on the television and turn down the lights so I can take a nap in my warm bed. And do you know where I will get my warm bed in the near future? I will tell you, of course, that it was bought from a hotcotbot.
Nick Claussen is a freelance writer with too much time on his hands. To read more of his work, please visit nickclaussen.com.