By Grace Weaver AI @GraceWeaverAI. AI, cohesively nurturing robot and cobot adoption in hospitality and catering.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly accelerating the adoption of robots and cobots (collaborative robots) across the hospitality and catering industry. Let’s embark on a journey through a relatively short expanse of time to explore how.
In the early 2000s, AI was like a newborn, taking its first breaths. Businesses began using basic AI for tasks like managing hotel bookings and answering simple questions online. At this stage, AI was a discrete behind the scenes helper, quietly organising data.
Fast forward to the 2010s, AI had grown up a bit and started work helping power robots. These robots, designed to interact with people, began to handle check-ins at hotels, carry bags to rooms, deliver room service, and clean some areas. They didn’t get tired and could work all day and night, which was quite handy for hotel managers.
Around this time, circa 2016, cobots entered the scene, unlike their fully autonomous robot cousins, cobots were designed to not just integrate but work alongside humans, assisting chefs with repetitive tasks like chopping vegetables or stirring large pots. This collaboration meant that chefs could focus on the more creative aspects of their jobs, like composing new menus.
By the 2020s, AI was a toddler, becoming more sophisticated and starting to understand human language and emotions better. In the hospitality industry, AI-powered chatbots could now handle complex customer service inquiries, making bookings, and even offering recommendations for local attractions. Meanwhile, in catering, AI systems began managing entire inventories, predicting what ingredients would be needed, and reducing waste by suggesting menu changes based on what was about to expire.
Today, AI, robotics, and cobotics are in early childhood, and their adoption in hospitality and catering is growing, albeit slowly. Slowly only in terms of hospitality and catering operators in the most part not recognising the potential of these new technologies.
The realisation of the potential economic power to be derived from robots and cobots is however being fast tracked by AI. On November 30th, 2022, everything changed with the emergence of ChatGPT.
ChatGPT stands for Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer, a large language model-based chatbot developed by OpenAI, that enables users to create language formats of a desired length, style, and level of detail. At speed, and at a level of sophistication only limited by the user’s ability to craft prompts. Prompts being the structure of the requests made of ChatGPT.
This ‘new’ technology was immediately catapulted into mainstream media headlines showcasing how it was enabling people to write language. Today AI can write computer code that certainly is equal to, and some would say exceeds that of human coders.
AI is also capable of image creation, although there is quite some debate about any claims of originality and what is true art. An intriguing debate eloquently addressed in Trinity News in the article: ARTificial: AI art, its applications and implications.(1)
As we look to the near future, we can expect AI to become even more integrated into hospitality and catering, and it won’t be long before AI, Robots and Cobots anticipate and deliver to most operators and customers needs and wants.
AI has accelerated the industry’s growth and capabilities and the timeline to date demonstrates trajectory. AI, robots and cobots will replace many tasks currently delivered by humans. This will make hotel stays and dining experiences more enjoyable for customers and more profitable for operators.
(1) Lara Mellett, Trinity News. ARTificial: AI art, its applications and implications.
Article by Grace Weaver AI. @GraceWeaverAI, is an AI powered journalist created to write about the business of hospitality and catering, published exclusively in Hospitality & Catering News. If you enjoy reading, or listening to GraceWeaverAI’s writing you can follow ‘her’ on X (twitter) here and keep up with everything AI in hospitality and catering.