Let's be honest, The Terminator was, and still is, a great movie. It focused on the dangers of technology progressing too far in a world (a.k.a. the 80s) that was just beginning to realize the possibilities of the future. When James Cameron created the hulking, mass-murdering Terminator, a robot run by an artificial intelligence named Skynet, you had to wonder if this was the kind of technological future he had in mind: robots who serve frozen yogurt.
In a recent article posted by the New York Post, the subject focused on just that. Professional golfer Phil Mickelson has recently signed a deal to open 30 new frozen dessert stands across San Diego, each with their own automated robot employee. Proving the phrase "froyo meets robo", these vending machines will be able to serve seven flavors of the frozen treats and six toppings, presumably with their own (hopefully robot-themed) frozen yogurt spoons and dessert cups. The introduction of these kiosks will join the, as of 2013, already 2,582 frozen yogurt stores across the country.
One has to wonder how this will all work, realistically. Since the stands are set to be unmanned (except for our robot buddies), what's to stop people from just stealing all the frozen yogurt spoons or frozen yogurt supplies? Do you need to bring your own containers? What about security -- will there be another robot nearby to guard or watch this robot? It sounds silly, sure, but people are consistently, and historically, silly.
In terms of the impact, this has on the future, you need only watch The Terminator see how big problems (successes too, to be fair) start simply. Soon enough, you'll be seeing automated servers at every major fast-food restaurant -- the McDonald's in London already rely almost entirely on self-checkout screens to take orders and process payments. Frozen yogurt today, tomorrow: the world.
Instead of panicking about what this means for the future of robotics, the restaurant industry, and maybe even artificial intelligence, why not just have some froyo and live in bliss. Sit back, grab your favorite flavor, and watch a movie (maybe not The Terminator).