We've taught them to move like humans,, and now, robots are experiencing one of the last true joys of being a real person: queuing!
A phalanx of mini robots were among the first in the world to get their metal claws on the brand new iPhone 7 when it launched in New Zealand on Friday. Thanks to the country's proximity to the international dateline, NZ got a few hours' head start on, and the Kiwis weren't going to pass up that opportunity, using robots to spruik the iPhone launch.
It's not the first time robots have replaced us human meat sacks on iPhone launch day. Last year,(read: iPad on wheels) to hold her place in the Sydney queue for the iPhone 6S.
This year, New Zealand carrier Spark used 100 Alpha 1 robots, created by Chinese company UBtech, to stand in line on behalf of customers. Each robot was controlled with a phone app and programmed to dance and move, and they were also fitted out to live-stream the queue.
Spark's general manager of customer and marketing, Clive Ormerod, said the robots gave customers the thrill of waiting in line in digital form.
"Queuing is an iconic part of new device fan culture," said Ormerod (in one of the most generous uses of the word iconic we've seen in some time). "We wanted to give our existing customers an experience of the atmosphere and excitement of the queue, without actually having to line up and wait it out until launch day."
It's good to know that when the robot uprising finally comes, they'll know how to queue politely.