A robot bartender served me drinks - and while it's a cool gimmick, it won't be stealing jobs any time soon

Bionic Bar Pouring

Matthew Michaels/Business Insider

A robot pours out a finished drink to serve.

  • The Bionic Bar is a feature on several Royal Caribbean cruise ships.
  • Guests order drinks on a tablet and a mechanical arm prepares the cocktail.
  • Drinks cost $13 from the Bionic Bar, which has too many flaws to be anything more than a novelty for the time being.

A robot is serving you drinks ...Advertisement

This is not the beginning of a pub joke. On a recent vacation aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, my bartender was a bionic arm that compliantly took my order and shook up a cocktail.

Cruise line Royal Caribbean has started experimenting on several of its ships with the Bionic Bar. The bar and machinery is produced by Makr Shakr. The robotics team claims to have served nearly 310,000 drinks.

By 2030, 400 million jobs could be replaced by automation worldwide, a McKinsey study found. Service jobs are especially vulnerable to automation, but there is at least one job that's safe for now: At least from what I saw, mechanical bartenders aren't a threat.

Here's what it was like to be served by a robot: