A viral TikTok criticizing a robot coffee shop in the San Francisco airport sparked controversy over tech culture and automation.
The viral video, which has over 55,900 views and was posted by user Gianna (@cottagecore666), shows a coffee shop run by a computer ordering screen and mechanical robot arm that makes and delivers coffee. The ordering screen in the video also advertises for unknown reasons what appears to be a Bored Ape non-fungible token (NFT).
“Bro i hate san francisco so much why does the airport have a coffee robot with a goddamn nft on the order screen,” the TikToker wrote on the video.
“I h8 tech culture, i say as i prepare to enter a career in tech,” the caption reads.
@cottagecore666 i h8 tech culture, i say as i prepare to enter a career in tech #sf #sanfrancisco #sfo #bayarea ♬ The Home Depot Beat – The Home Depot
The robotic coffee shop in the video is Cafe X, which has two locations in the San Francisco airport and one in Dubai. Cafe X has been around for a few years now at the San Francisco airport, shutting down briefly in 2020, and has received a lot of attention online. In 2019, NBC News reported the new coffee robot at Cafe X could make over 1,000 drink variations and create 6 drinks at a time.
Users in the comments section of the viral TikTok about Cafe X debated the robotic coffee shop, with some users calling the technology “dystopian.” Others expressed distaste for the use of NFTs in its advertising and criticized “tech culture” in San Francisco.
“Hate west coast tech bro culture,” one user commented.
On the flip side, some users defended the robot shop and new technology.
“It’s cool get over it,” one person argued.
Others argued about the inconveniences posed by a robotic ordering system and accused Cafe X of not assisting them with failed orders.
“My, along with other people’s coffee, got stuck and we never got reimbursed,” one user criticized.
Other TikTokers made videos about Cafe X, with some promoting the store and even offering discounts on its products. Users on Twitter have also debated the robotic coffee shop, with users either praising its efficacy or describing it as a dystopian nightmare.
“This episode of Black Mirror is horrifying,” one Twitter user said in 2020.
Cafe X is definitely not the only company to experiment with robot technology and automation. As previously reported by the Daily Dot, this year TikTokers debated a robot ordering system at a Checkers drive-thru restaurant.
In 2021, one McDonald’s location in Chicago also launched a voice-operated drive-thru system. In 2019, Domino’s Pizza also began to implement artificial intelligence technology to check pizza orders for accuracy, and Pizza Hut started to test delivery robots. In 2020, KFC also announced plans for chicken-cooking robots. And in 2021, Chick-fil-A also began testing delivery robots.
The Daily Dot reached out to Cafe X via email and to Gianna via TikTok comment.
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