I was fascinated by a little robot working away at the British Airways lounge in Boston. What a great example of how Artificial Intelligence and Robotics can help workers.
There’s been a lot of talk about how both AI and Robotics will take away jobs. Yes, that can be true. However, these new technologies can also enhance the customer experience by helping employees with the more mundane aspects of their work.
The British Airways robot moves from place to place, stopping in fixed spots about every twenty seconds so the used dishes and glasses are easier for staff to bus. Artificial Intelligence controls where the robot goes, preventing crashes into people, furniture, and luggage.
Rather than trying to fully automate to eliminate people, British Airways uses the robots to make staff more productive.
The staff seem to love it. I asked several people working there what they thought about the robot and woman told me enthusiastically: “No more heavy trays to carry!”.
I found the lounge cleaner than I remember it. Rather than spend time going back and forth to the kitchen area, staff can attend to travelers and prepare tables for the next visitor, making the lounge look better with less work.
A clean lounge and happy, smiling employees builds fans.
I love how this solution to a common problem, using a combination of AI, robotics, and people, makes everyone better off.