Robots remain a rare sight outside of labs in most of the world, but in Silicon Valley, they have already started taking on service jobs. In this episode of Judah Vs. The Machines, Judah visits the Crowne Plaza hotel in San Jose to check out Relay, a hotel service robot that can autonomously bring guests food and other necessities.
After poking Relay’s creator, Steve Cousins about equal pay for robots, Judah decides to compete head-to-head to see whether a machine can actually best a human at hospitality. The hotel arranges a competitive delivery challenge to see if Relay can secure higher service ratings from guests. And while robots are a long way from running hotels by themselves, Relay has the advantage of being fast, quiet and unconcerned with tips.
Outside of hospitality, Cousins’ company, Savioke, also puts its robots to use in research labs and industrial facilities where specialty items are needed on a moments notice. Relay and all of its brethren are on track to take up service jobs at new hotels in the near future, though, for now, they only operate well in environments that tend not to change much — this is one place where humans still hold an ace card.