Doctor Eclectic

Doctor Eclectic
Doctor Eclectic

Monday, July 13, 2015

Robots and Drones

I have read several articles recently that caused me to stop and catch-up from my baseline knowledge of robots and drones, which may have stopped at R2D2 and 3-CPO.  What actually got me started was not an article, but a television spot, where they were asking the rhetorical question, “What should you tip robot who serves you a drink?”  Evidently the question never was adequately answered as last night’s television showed a restaurant in China that is served by a staff of cute looking robots, and they asked the same question.

The first show was triggered by a lounge in Orange County that already has a robot serving drinks and was testing the effect of robot servers on tips for serving staff.  Their conclusion was people actually tipped the robots more and therefore the servers were very happy.

I hooked up with a golf companion on my last trip out who was a bartender in a fancy-dancy restaurant in Newport Beach.  He seemed unaware of the robot threat to his livelihood, but I was remembering when I was briefly a bartender supplementing my spending money while in dental school.  I worked a resort in Door County a couple of summers, a Country Club one summer, and a Japanese restaurant for about two years.  Each had a pecking order for tip disbursement, and the biggest lesson I learned was to personalize the preparation and presentation, if you want to maximize gratuities.  I attribute this learned skill to making me successful in fabricating dentures, partial dentures, and crowns as customer satisfaction is 90% of that game also.

It’s hard for me to believe a robot can achieve that, but I did see a TED video that discussed AI robots, that use their artificial intelligence to bond with humans.  My favorite example was a woman who had a robot seal that she dressed and anthropomorphized and loved.  My hygienist has a Therapy Dog, who provides a similar service to convalescents.  Animals are also use in treating PTSD and rehabilitation prison inmates. There seem to be more similarities than differences.

Of course there are those who believe we are setting up our workforce to extinction, and I was pleased to see a Harvard BusinessReview article arguing that robots need us more than we need them.

Drones could be described as robots on steroids, and I confess I see them as a solution looking for a problem.  But they are huge in the marketplace, and the largest supplier in the world, Parrot SA Sells thousands for about $100.  Four times in the last few weeks California authorities have had to stop air support for firefighting because of drone activity.  Currently a misdemeanor, it is only a matter of time before drone owners may face jail time.

I did see one article where a private citizen was investigating a service to provide food, medicine and other necessities o many areas of our country that are isolated by impassible roads because of weather. Perhaps when people stop using their drone toys for surveillance of water waster and cell phone users, reason may prevail.

I was reminded recently of the question, “How do you want to be remembered when you die?” I have some thoughts  on that, which I will share in my next Post.  I hope you will be able to join me.