BE­WARE OF PIZZA RO­BOT OVERLORDS

National Post (Latest Edition) - - WEEKEND POST - Jo sh Mcco nnell

I re­mem­ber or­der­ing pizza at my grand­par­ents house like it was yes­ter­day. There are dis­tinct mem­o­ries of smelling the ink as we flipped the Yel­low Pages to find the per­fect pizza joint, feel­ing the tac­tile sen­sa­tion of the phone’s but­tons as we rang the busi­ness and smelling the fresh pies when we en­tered the es­tab­lish­ment just as we hoped on the ride over. Those were sim­pler times when or­der­ing and pick­ing up pizza was a big event — not to men­tion dated with phone books and land­lines — but does that mean they were nec­es­sar­ily bet­ter?

Re­cently it was an­nounced that Ford Mo­tors and Domino’s are part­ner­ing to test driver­less pizza de­liv­ery in Ann Ar­bor, Michi­gan. If some­one or­ders a pizza, the self- driv­ing car will pull up to their home and they will then have to un­lock the warm­ing com­part­ment with an or­der- spe­cific pass­code. Sure, it doesn’t come right to the door, but some­times tech­no­log­i­cal awe­some­ness has its trade­offs, right?

Then there are the apps. Many ma­jor pizza chains of­fer the abil­ity to or­der pizza now with a cou­ple of fin­ger taps while re­mem­ber­ing your favourite or­ders for quick fu­ture ref­er­ence, but some even take things a step fur­ther. Some let you track the de­liv­ery per­son in real time through GPS as the fresh pizza comes your way, while others let you fol­low the mak­ing and cook­ing progress with your phone or smart watch. There are even brands with so­cial me­dia bots that will au­to­mat­i­cally an­swer some of your pizza ques­tions, no mat­ter the hour.

All of this tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion has led to the ques­tion of why com­pa­nies should bother of­fer­ing such triv­ial ser­vices.“It’s a waste of time!” some ar­gue.“Big brother is watch­ing!” others in­sist while wear­ing their tin­foil hats. Hon­estly, I have a big brother and I don’t mind if he’s watch­ing just so long as it means I can tell when my pizza has moved from the point of be­ing as­sem­bled to go­ing in the oven.

Even as a pizza purist — don’t mess with my food and we’ll get along just fine – it doesn’t mean I’m liv­ing in the stone age. Tech­nol­ogy is a won­der­ful thing if it means quicker pizza and more con­ve­nience. Some as­pects may feel gim­micky, but I, for one, wel­come our ro­botic and au­to­mated pizza overlords.

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