Robot barmen on cruise ships and robot butlers in hotels – Sarah Connor would be turning in her grave. Where does it all end?


You can check-in en route to the airport, ‘let us install this app and track what you are doing whilst you are conveniently saving 30 seconds’.

When you land, get on that unmanned train into the city.

“Cool, they have automated my check-in. I just put in my credit card, my frequent flyer number, give a blood sample…” and then “I just fill out this form with my credit card number and I don’t have to deal with anyone when I leave the hotel.”

A world where we stop interacting with people. How quaint.


Do we need more technology?

tech airport 

Um, no, but service providers want you to need it to drain cash out of you.

It’s about reducing cost and increasing the data you give back. The robot bartenders are a capital investment but over their lifetime are cheaper to run than real people – no unions; work 24/7; don’t need a bed and won’t use any water; automated re-ordering of gin at the next port; and vote on each others drinks.

How about all of those apps? Sure they are convenient, but every time you install one on your phone you are giving away the rights to your data, your location and what you are doing. Free apps harvest your data and then your friends. ‘Big brother’ is learning to how extract more cash from you.

How about ‘stimulating social interaction through apps and scoring each others drinks’. My arse, that’s not social interaction.

That’s a family of people sitting around a bar looking at their iPhones ‘together’ and generating data for the man. You can do that at McDonalds.


Why robots are the big deal


Up until now most of the technology we have dealt with is software. Robots are in the real world, they start replacing physical tasks and that’s the game changer.

Mixing drinks is one thing, but how do you feel about the robot reception desk? I mean you validate your identification by looking into a camera and swiping your passport. Then choose your upgrades and just click on the tablet, leave a holding deposit on your credit card.

Then somebody (sorry, something) comes and grabs your bag and takes it to your room whilst automatically storing your valuables in the luggage holding bay.

Is it actually that bad?


Back to the high-tech cruise ship

quantum of the seas 3- karryon

I’m not going to lie, they are impressive. But is it just me, or does they look like a massive Westfield shopping town on water?

It’s an amazing technological feat and I am blown away by them, but are they really how you want to spend a holiday?

It annoys me that a fantastic Indian restaurant around the corner now has to have a 42-inch LCD screen. This ship has hundreds of them. Operated by robots. That synchronise with sound, predicting my every want and need. What if I want to scream at it?

“Here sir, have a Valium, lie down, enjoy the cruise. You will be fine.”

That’s not a holiday. This is starting to sound like a freaking nightmare.


How about the people?

Image: Huis Ten Bosch as seen on the Daily Mail

If I can drag you away from your iPhone to think for a little – is this just too much technology and not enough person? You might argue that business travel is less person anyway and want everything automated.

But I actually like interacting with the people when I travel. I like their accents, their stories, understanding their local knowledge. I want to know what the bartender saw last week and the place she visited. I want the history. I want some engagement.

Robot bartenders? Robot hotels?

It’s like we are part of a world where everyone just runs around connected to their phone or computer all day long and just can’t get away with it… That’s not living. That’s not a holiday.

I can lie on my couch and put on 3D glasses for that. That’s being plugged in.

How do you feel about being served by robots?