The Robot Bartenders At Circuit Of The Americas Serve Speedy Cocktails

Picture this: You sit down at your favorite neighborhood watering hole, ready to chat with the bartender who's memorized your order. But this time, instead of Jamie (this author's go-to drink slinger), you're greeted by a robot — and it may even try to make small talk (via CNBC).

Robots working human jobs sound like a sci-fi trope that's still years away, but they've likely actually already come to a city near you. According to the World Economic Forum, artificial intelligence (A.I.) is predicted to take over 85 million jobs in the next half-decade — but also create 97 million more. A.I. already does everything from making burgers to plowing farm fields to assisting during surgery, and in a post-pandemic era, CNBC says robots offer a potential solution in industries like the restaurant world.

Inventors are creating technology like the "Flippy2," which can work fry stations at restaurants, so who's to say A.I. can't play a role in getting us our favorite libations? And if you travel to Austin, Texas, you can get a preview of what the future of bartending might look like at Circut of the Americas (via CultureMap Austin).

A drink served up automatically

According to CultureMap Austin, racing and concert venue Circuit of the Americas turned to TendedBar, an A.I.-driven bartending system, to keep its drink lines moving quickly. The system uses facial recognition software and QR codes to allow its "regulars" to open tabs and verify their identities. Guests then use a computer system to dispense themselves a drink in "as little as 15 seconds," TendedBar's website notes. There are over 100 options that span typical brands and cocktail recipes — with the ability to let drinkers customize their beverages.

Sandeep Satish, managing director of hospitality group Levy's DBK Studio, told CultureMap the concept shines because people at large events look for "speed, consistency, and quality of beverage service."

According to a press release from the company, this is just the beginning for TendedBar, which could also be found at the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars stadium in 2021. Justin Honeysuckle, co-founder of TendedBar, explained "Venues, events, and sports leagues are focused on ways to improve the fan experience through automation technology," making the company's techy bartending system a perfect fit.

The robot bartender you imagined may be on the horizon

If TendedBar's computer bartending system at Austin's Circuit of the Americas isn't futuristic enough for you, there are other companies developing A.I.-driven bar experiences that go beyond a touch-screen menu.

Axios reports that A.I. bartenders could be found slinging drinks at the 2022 Bar & Restaurant Expo in Las Vegas, including one called Adam (developed by Richtech Robotics) that has two fists and can also serve food. The company has also created two robot servers aimed at the hotel industry: Richie, which stands 38 inches tall and sort of looks like it's wearing a tuxedo, and Matradee, which is essentially a wheeled column of trays that delivers food.

And BRILLO, an A.I. with a human-esque appearance, can do more than just shake up cocktails (via CNBC). Created by scientists at the University of Naples Federico II, BRILLO – short for Bartending Robot for Interactive Long-Lasting Operations — is also designed to carry a (brief) conversation and even remember your regular drink order. So perhaps while you're in Austin sipping a drink served up by the TendedBar robot system you can dream of a potentially near future experience a lot closer to that of "The Jetsons."