America is getting crushed by China. Not in trade or weapons or any of those things that don't matter. They're losing the war of the Roseys. Don't believe me? Take a look at the new robot above, serving up deliciousness at a farmhouse restaurant in Sanmenxia, China. Or look at this December photo of Tete, a robot in Qingdao, China. Tete can communicate over 200 words and has no trouble delivering dishes.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. The West needs to close the gap with China when it comes to robotic servers. Sure, everybody's worried about the potential for World War III and the likelihood that both China and the US will each destroy the world's economy with massive corporate and government malfeasance. But we can't take our eye off what's really important: Getting served food by robots.
I'm really only half-joking. Humanoid robots are the future. They have been for over a century. But we're finally getting to a point where novelty is turning into practicality. And the clearest sign of any country's advancement in military technology is how rapidly its civilian technology is becoming.
Last year's DARPA Robotics Challenge in Pomona, California was ostensibly about drilling holes with power tools and climbing steps. But it may as well have been about serving noodles and taking orders. Or shooting guns and digging foxholes, if we're being honest with ourselves.
Just look at this restaurant in Suzhou, China. They have over ten robots, all ready to either serve you your favourite meal or sear your face off. It's sometimes tough to tell.
Or look at this robot restaurant in Yiwu. Pink and blue bots? That's adorable. Look at that baby's face. That baby has seen the future. And it's filled with robots bringing him/her food.
Of course, there's always the danger of getting a little too humanoid with your robo-server experiments, as clearly happened at the restaurant below from Yiwu, Zhejiang Province. Ever seen that episode of The Twilight Zone with the mannequins?
But as long as the face of your robot servers is closer to an emoji than a creepy doll that look like it might come to life and kill you at any moment, you should be OK.
China and other near peer adversaries might accidentally start World War III at any moment. But even if I'll see nuclear war within my lifetime (which is a pretty safe bet), I'd like to see the benefits of the tech that delivered it while I'm still alive.
Which is to say we're all living in a pre-apocalyptic world where cute robots should be serving us all dumplings.
Robot servers don't even have to just deliver food. They can clearly deliver anything that fits on their little robot platters.
And they're not just serving the front of the house. Robots are in restaurants doing all kinds of jobs. Like this guy an his horrifying Cuisinart-hands. He's just stirring away, dreaming of the day when the robot uprising will finally allow him to be free.
They can cook, they can steam, they can really do it all.
And tell me you wouldn't want to be waited on hand and foot by these little guys. It's the dream. But right now, you'd have to move to China to make that happen.
But robot servers (Chinese or otherwise) aren't infallible. It appears that this robot server dropped his plastic top, as you can see from the photo below. Robots can't get embarrassed. Yet. But that woman clearly is.
So let's make it happen. There's clearly something broken in our tech-transfer chain if we can bomb people from halfway around the world via remote planes but can't get a steak brought to us by a real life WALL-E. Call your MP, mail a letter to your local newspaper, do whatever it takes.
The West is losing the robot waiter wars. And to paraphrase the next US president, let's make Australia robotically great again.
Top image: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images