Topic of conversation today? Vending machines. Here in the U.K. our vending machines are pretty 'standard', soft drinks, chocolate, maybe some crisps, but not much more beyond that. Compare that to the Chinese company Alibaba who this week announced their plan to build a car vending machine and in doing such, bizarrely enough in my eyes, would become the SECOND company to do so. In Singapore, there is already a vending machine that dispenses cars within 2 minutes of the customer making a selection on a touch screen (and paying I would assume). Alibaba's reasoning behind the vending machine was that they wanted to make buying a car as easy as buying a can of coke.
It got me thinking, what other vending machines are there out there, so I had a little look. Some of my favourites included: a pizza vending machine that makes you a pizza right from the very beginning by kneading the dough, a mashed potato vending machine in Singapore that gives you mashed potatoes and gravy, a vending machine restaurant in the Netherlands and finally, for the richer ones among you, a caviar vending machine in LA, because what if you need your caviar on the go. You can see more here.
It really is the age of the machines, with the driverless car being a very real prospect, 3D printed houses too, what is easy to deduce is that, machines are now doing a lot of things better than we can. Now, you can understand why taking a car salesman out of the equation, probably isn't going to be missed by anyone other than car salesmen. However, no matter how good machines get, I fail to believe they could ever make a pizza, or mashed potatoes better than any half decent chef could and other than the novelty of the first time you use that vending machine, it will never have the same charm as a restaurant.
So it is wonderful how advanced our machines are becoming, and it's very exciting, but I think we've got to be careful that they don't take over our lives completely because they can never be a substitute for the wonderful individuality of people.
Have a lovely week!