Robots are playing an increasingly bigger role in what we eat, and for half of the people in a recent survey from Study.com, that’s just fine.
Study.com conducted an online survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 60+ asking them whether they’d trust an artificially intelligent (AI) powered robot to conduct a number of different tasks.
The robotic tasks presented ranged from delivering packages and cleaning your house (73 percent said yes to those) all the way to more personal scenarios such as defending you in court (only 14 percent would) or picking your spouse (a mere 8 percent said yes).
Robots “Preparing your food” came in at a 50/50 split, which, to be fair is a lot more than the number of people who would let a robot cut their hair (20 percent). As with a lot of surveys and studies, this information should be taken with a grain of salt.
First, an online survey would lean towards people who are more tech savvy to begin with. Second, and more important, “preparing your food” is vague. Is that making your food in a restaurant, or in your home? However you envision the scenario would probably impact what answer you give.
Robots are on the rise in fast restaurant experiences, where their consistency and inability to get tired make them ideal for cranking out food all day. There’s Spyce in Boston, which just raised $21 million to expand its robot restaurant experience. Cafe X just raised $12 million for its robot-baristas-in-a-box. Flippy spent the summer frying up ten thousand pounds of chicken tenders and tater tots. Food robots are popping up around the world like Alibaba’s Robot.he restaurant in Shanghai, MontyCafe in Russia and Ekim Pizza in France.
It’s also worth pointing out that different people may consider different things robots inside their own homes. The Moley probably most closely resembles what people would consider a kitchen robot, with its futuristic arms and hands chopping and stirring. But Zimplistic makes the Rotimatic, which automatically makes flatbreads — is that considered a robot in this scenario? My June automatically cooks meals using AI without much effort or input from me. Is that a robot?
Regardless of any shortcomings in this survey, it’s important to start asking these questions. As robots and automation displace millions of workers around the globe, we will need to be in a constant dialogue about them and our relationship with food.