Starbucks robot barista coming in hot with custom drinks. And pink slips for humans?


We’ve recently covered how robots are coming for someone else’s jobs in media and finance (links below). Because it’s never our jobs, right? Then you go get coffee and a Starbucks robot barista crushes your obnoxiously complex order.

And your blissful sips scald you with the reality that robots might be better than us.

At certain jobs anyway. While robots can replace certain humans in call centers and auto assembly lines, I believe they make humans better rather than replace us elsewhere.

With my extreme cognitive bias, I’ll make the case for media.

For this post about a Starbucks patent to make crazy custom drinks (first reported by BI, link below), we’re using Dall-E AI to get decent robots making coffee images.

But then we make them better with good old fashioned human creativity.

Dennis created the LOL image above to tell the story of Starbucks robot baristas replacing humans.

Here’s the actual picture of the Starbucks machine from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) patent filing.

Starbucks robot barista - patent drawing - The Basis Point


And here’s the patent description of the way this machine works.

Starbucks patent description for color coding custom drinks - The Basis Point


To arrive at our images, Dennis created a couple versions of the robot we eventually chose.

He also replaced the Dall-E image I first sent him because it didn’t work for the way he wanted to depict it.

His favorite was this image below more because he thought it was more machinelike and cold.

Starbucks robot barista coming in hot - custom drink making machine patent filed with USOTO February 2023


But I led with the pissed off human barista because it’s funnier.

The point is: human effort can go a long way in making a commodity business like media less commoditized — and more interesting.

We spend a lot of time on this site talking about how humans de-commoditize most sub-sectors of finance even with all the fintech disruption.

And I would argue the same applies inside Starbucks shops: humans are relevant, especially machine-assisted humans.

Our image and headline are of course media exaggerations.

But the truth is, human baristas are the brains running the new Starbucks robots.

At least I hope that’s what happens.

Because if it doesn’t happen, there’s no hope for any of us.


New Starbucks patent is for machine that’ll make ultra-custom drinks baristas hate making (BI)

Starbucks robot barista patent filing with USPTO*

Stupid humans like investors & salespeople think AI robots are coming for someone else’s job (TBP)

As BuzzFeed pits AI robots against humans, I might favor the robots (TBP)

Finally, here’s one Robyn asked for during our creative process to get at the drink color customization feature of the new Starbucks robot barista capability. Which of our 3 images do you like best? Comment below.

Starbucks robot barista coming in hot 3 - custom drink making machine patent filed with USOTO February 2023

* No, Starbucks doesn’t call it a robot, but this is their official patent filing




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