Cafe X
Robots & Machines

This Robot Barista Is Faster Than a Human, and It Just Started Work in San Fran

It can serve 120 drinks an hour.

Gordon is a robotic arm that serves coffee in a San Francisco shopping complex. It’s the first robotic barista in the U.S., and it could serve about 120 coffees in an hour. “A lot of us spend a lot of time in line waiting for coffee,” Henry Hu, CEO of Cafe X Technologies, the local start-up that created the robot, tells USA Today. “And we decided to do something about it.”

Cafe X Technologies built a toll-booth sized stall to house Gordon, and customers can approach the stall or order via a mobile app. Gordon can serve seven drinks, including espressos and cafe lattes, for about $2.25 to $2.95 per 8-ounce cup. This system won’t get your name wrong, either. After choosing their type of drink, flavor, and intensity of flavor, customers enter a mobile number to get a four-digit code and then pay. When their drink is ready, they receive a text message.

Gordon is an example of how automated systems are replacing jobs bit by bit. “We’re an inflection point where technology will get smarter and smarter, and adapt to people — for years, it was just the opposite,” says Accenture CTO Paul Daugherty.

Automation and digitization are expected to displace jobs in several industries, including manufacturing, clerical and public services, legal work, and even IT. How we will deal with that loss is still up for debate, with potential solutions including advanced education and universal basic income (UBI).

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