Turing Test and Our Favorite Food Robots

Alex Van Buren
Food Features Editor
June 11, 2014

All this Turing Test chatter about a computer maybe finally tricking some humans into thinking IT was human got us thinking about robots. Who doesn’t love a good one?

They’ve sure done some good things (and some weird things) in the world of food. To wit:

The pancake bot.

Still credit: YouTube

What’s more compelling than the notion of stretching awake with a lion-esque yawn, having one robot make the coffee, and seeing another making pancakes into seahorses? Not a lot.

The robot waiter.

Photo credit: Nicolas Asfour, AFP

Ideal for friends who complain about the service no matter how fancy the establishment and how attentive the server. A robot waiter changes the whole game; now you can only blame the nerd who made the bot. Also, this dude dates back (like all good things do) to the ’80s.

The automat bot.

Photo credit: NYPL, Flickr

The original American robot food thing. Automats coat the impersonal bot experience in (if we may steal a phrase) “a thick glaze of classy" and are retro-chic to boot, dating right on back to 1902.

The vineyard-tending robot. 

Photo credit: Youtube, AFP

Because many of us are farmers in our minds, but in reality we really don’t want to deal with getting dirty, “pruning and desuckering” vines in a vineyard. Thanks, robot. 

The bartender robot. 

Photo credit: Makr Shakr

For those days when you really, really don’t want to talk about your feelings or politics with the barkeep. Also: It’s called Makr Shakr. I mean come on. 

The possessed soda machine robot.

Photo credit: Jon Manning. Vice.com

Who doesn’t harbor a nostalgic fondness for the first time she met a soda machine robot? Its punchy buttons are big, and bright, and it’s so satisfying to whale on one and hear the crash-thunk-crash of the can tumbling through the mechanized interior.

Lest you call this more “technology” than “a robot,” watch out, because a Seattle soda-bot that stocks itself and is definitely haunted is coming for you, packing like 30 cans of Grape Fanta.