Alright, this automation thing is getting a little ridiculous.
A few months ago, I told you about Rose, the flirtatious robot concierge at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the Alexa voice-activated system doing butler stuff at the Wynn, and a driverless vehicle taking tourists around Downtown Las Vegas. I kind of like being able to ask the nightstand for restaurant reservations and show tickets. I like asking my phone to bring me some towels.
Face it, a butler would be better, but I still like it.
But this latest bit of Las Vegas robot witchery is something I cannot abide. There’s now a bar in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood called Tipsy Robot. Despite what I initially hoped, the name does not mean there’s a floor show featuring drunken robots clanking around, getting dented up as they stumble about. No, Tipsy Robot is the first bar on the Las Vegas Strip to feature robot bartenders.
The robots are at one of the establishment’s two bars. Customers sit down at tablet stations to order, or order their drinks on their smartphones through the handy Tipsy Robot app. After they pay, they get a QR code, which is scanned to enter the order in the system.
No, no, no. This will never work. The robots, if they can be called that, look like industrial equipment whirring around between 60 different liquors, mixers and plastic cups. Robots should have personality, like R2D2, or Robot B9 on Lost in Space.
Secondly, they are, well, hardware. How are you going to tell your problems to a bartender who is hardware? At least have standard responses programmed in, like “Ah, it’ll be alright!” or “Gee, women, huh?” or “That’s no reason to blow your brains out. Have another drink.”
Finally, a standard one-shot drink at the “Bionic Bar” is $14.
Danger, Will Robinson!
They say the $14 includes “both taxes and gratuity.” Hold the phone! Gratuity? I’m tipping the gizmo? What, they don’t pay them enough?
In other news, those wacky bookies are at it again.
Paddy Power, the Irish bookmaker, marked the start of Great Britain’s Brexit negotiations by erecting a giant statue of British Prime Minister Theresa May on the White Cliffs of Dover, “flipping off” Europe and the European Union across the English Channel.
The statue is really just a wooden cutout of May draped in a Union Jack dress, but at 110 feet tall, that just makes it look all the more creepy. And I’m sorry, though they say she’s doing a “double flip-off,” she’s really doing the Churchill-style backward “V for victory” sign from World War II.
It is also the sign Moe used to make before he poked Larry or Curly in the eyes, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what Paddy Power meant to convey.
Paddy Power offers all sorts of bets around Brexit and U.K. elections and just about everything else, so its obvious intention was to get its names in front of bettors, but in typical cheeky fashion, the Paddy Power spokesman yukked it up in a press statement:
“I’m really proud of this statue, if only because it’s the first time that I can legitimately claim to have a huge erection.”
“We tried to make the installation look as lifelike as possible to Theresa May—which is why it’s two-dimensional and largely wooden.”
They even called it the “Mother of All Theresas.”
Hey, we’re here all week!
It’s all typical of Paddy Power, which promotes its political betting with gags like a section of its website where you can slap your favorite politician with a wet fish. OK, it’s a virtual fish, but it’s still hilarious.
It’s not just Paddy Power that’s loaded with wisecracking wise guys. Big bookmaking companies tend to have weird jokester qualities. Remember Sportbet a few years ago? Just before the World Cup got under way in 2014, the Australian bookmaker floated a giant inflatable Jesus over Melbourne, clad in the jersey of the Australia Socceroos and displaying the pose of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue. A Sportbet spokesman said it was meant to convey that “divine intervention” was needed for Australia to win the World Cup.
Astonishingly, the Jesus balloon didn’t deliver the Socceroos.
We’re still waiting to see what the Mother of All Theresas accomplishes from her backwards-victory-sign/double-bird-flip/Moe-eye-poking gesture toward the European Union. If nothing else, it’s sure to help Paddy Power.
Personally, I have no horse in this Brexit race, but I will say this: We can all get along in this world, as long as the bartenders are human.