John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
This new robo-bartender that's slinging rounds in San Francisco is just great.
• Tolerate hours of rambling life complaints from drunken barflies without showing any sign of distress;
• Atomic-wedgie rowdy patrons with the brutal force of three mechanical arms;
• Analyze E. Coli levels on the bar limes to remove the ones portending a hospital visit;
• Detect the blood-alcohol level in patrons, cut off the ones who've had "one too many" (actually, that's not cool. Bring an EMP bomb if you're ever served by this thing).
Technically, some of those things are not true (the blood-alcohol detection is, though). But maybe in future models of the Makr Shakr, which was designed by MIT's Senseable City Lab, they will be included as upgrades. One thing that doesn't need improvement is the 'bot's encyclopedic knowledge of beverages: Using the power of crowd-sourcing, it can calculate ten to the power of 100 ways to get you blasted. It's also got a really physically attractive way of cutting into a lemon, having been modeled on the body motions of Roberto Bolle, a dancer with the American Ballet Theatre.
Check it out in action (there's also a slideshow here). If this is what the robot takeover of society is going to involve, it can't get here soon enough: