Automats are all the rage again. And it's not hard to see why. Interacting with humans in any capacity that doesn't involve a high-tech screen is a hellish experience. But at new places like Eatsa in San Francisco, you'll never again have to talk with a living, breathing human being to get your bowl of piping cold quinoa.
From the New York Times:
There are no waiters or even an order taker behind a counter. There is no counter. There are unseen people helping to prepare the food, but there are plans to fully automate that process, too, if it can be done less expensively than employing people.
But the New Automat™ fad still has a long ways to go. At least if we're to believe old visions of the future. Eatsa and its ilk sound remarkably like this cartoon from 1903 showing off the "push-button lunch" of tomorrow...
But do you see the difference between the cartoon and the photo? That's right, this cartoon from 1903 promised that the automats of the future would have robot arms to take your cane and top hat. Do dining establishments like Eatsa have robot arms to take your cane and top hat and treat you like a civilized human being of the 21st century? No. No, they do not.
Touchscreen ordering? Psssshhhhh. Who cares? Not me. Especially when I'm stuck removing my own goddamn top hat. Can a touchscreen helpfully remove my jacket and make sure my cane finds a good place to rest that's out of the way of the other patrons? The hell it can, Eatsa. The hell it can.
I bet Eatsa doesn't even have a robot to remove my monocle in a dramatic manner when I've learned something that might lead me to a larger revelation about the identity of the real killer.*
Who designs a fully automated dining experience and doesn't include a robot to undress you? Do I look like a freaking chump who's supposed to take his own top hat off? Do I? It's the year 2015 AD. For snarf's sake, it's nearly 2016 AD. Get with the program, Silicon Valley.
*It could not be confirmed by press time whether Eatsa has robots that help remove monocles in dramatic moments.
Photos: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images