dining experience. Diners can select from menus that are projected on the tabletop. Orders go straight to the kitchen—which means you don’t have to wait for your waiter anymore. You can select your digital tablecloth pattern, play video games, ask for your bill and call a taxi. There is even a webcam in the kitchen so you can watch the chef preparing your meal—all projected on the table.
There are still waiters but fewer of them and their role is more limited. They carry out food and drinks to your table and bring you the bill. When I asked a few of them how they liked the technology, they said it made it much harder to make a connection with people, and that they have to overcompensate
or diners don’t really pay them much notice.
Although I thought parts of the experience were great (I love to cook and am always trying to get a peek into restaurant kitchens, so I loved the webcam view), I confess that I missed being handed a menu and interacting with a live human being. Looking around the restaurant, I saw a roomful of people playing video games, fiddling with their virtual menus and watching the webcam like a reality TV show and it struck me that technology had finally crept into one of the last strongholds of undiluted human interaction: Taking the time to sit across a table from someone in a restaurant, talk and share a
I don’t expect you’ll see this concept become ubiquitous anytime soon, but in the way it has supplanted people with software, inamo does offer a glimpse of how technology continues to evolve how we interact with each other and what our lives could be like in the future: Immersed in a web of information that is always on, our interactions with others and the world around us completely
mediated through technology.
Originally published 2/15/10