By Nancy Weingartner
We have seen the future, and it’s on demand. How are we going to survive in a world filled with replacement robots and never having to go outside to forage for food? For my money, fitness centers will be the smart investment by 2020. Since the future doesn’t seem to come with a whole lot of physical activity built into its workplaces, nor its after-hour activities, we’re going to need something to do with all our newfound leisure time before we atrophy.
Driverless cars will take away the little bit of foot action we have with the brakes and gas pedals, and we don’t need to walk from the car into restaurants when we can have all nourishment delivered to our front door, nor will be walking around shopping. Amazon, anyone?
How we’ll make our money has me a bit concerned, because it seems like machines will have that nailed down as well. Drones or robots already deliver our packages; herd our sheep, guide our museum tours and mix our drinks (the Bionic Bar on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship has two robots that mix 300 different cocktails in seconds, according to Money magazine). And soon robots will cook that delivery from Blue Apron, et al
Moley Robotics, which developed a set of robot arms that can whip up more than 100 different meals and clean up after itself, claims the cooking robot will be available for home kitchens in 2018, according to Forbes magazine. Restaurants need not fear yet, the cost is about $92,000. Delivery is still cheaper.
In the movie, Hidden Figures about the late 1960s race to space, human “computers” were replaced by the IBM mainframe—and now statistical assistants are becoming superfluous, says a 24/7 Wall St. article on the 18 jobs being replaced by robots.
If you want to hold onto your job, you may want to enroll in a medical school near you or pick a career with an empathy component, such as elementary teacher or counselor. Although there’s already an educational robot called Pepper in a U.K. school.
But I digress. One thing robots can never take away from us humans is Yankee ingenuity. And food on demand is one area that seems to be brimming with creativity. For instance, while postal worker is one profession on the soon-to-be jobless list, a group of students at Washington University in St. Louis came up with a first-class idea: Use the U.S. Postal Service, which is showing signs of decline, to ship surplus perishable food from supermarkets to food insecure areas, an article in the Guardian reports.
Easy 0, a delivery service in Miami, is meeting the need for people who want food delivered to their beach towel. Say, it’s past noon, you’re famished and all the poolside waitstaff is busy, or the line is too long at the hot dog stand at the beach. Call Easy O on your cell, and food will find its way to your lounge chair. Hotels in Miami can also sign up for drivers to deliver drinks and food more quickly to guests.
Also in Miami, Dos Crocuetas, which describes itself as an “artisanal craft croquet delivery company” run by “gastronomic connoisseurs,” charges a delivery fee of $3 to $5 for several versions of its deep fried croquettes. The windows for delivery are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., every day but Monday. You can’t narrow the culinary offerings much more than that.
And one last digression, if I may. The most surprising item to enter the delivery fray is tampons, via a service called Hello Flo. Not to be outdone, men can sign up for a monthly condom delivery, thanks to Dollar Condom Club, three for $1 or if you’re feeling lucky, $10 gets you a dozen a month.