Barista Bot


    A response to being treated like a robot on the job, specifically of the servile female variety that populates popular imaginations. There should be only so many possible drinks, and yet with many slight variations there's a sort of constant deja vu effect of "did it make this drink already or just one similar?" which is very much how I felt in a high volume cafe (where people frequently took other people's wrong-but-similar drinks because we were not allowed to label the cups). The boringness of the bot makes visible what's dull about the job, but also clearly falls short of what customers want in a cafe experience. Service workers are valued less than robots (robots require fixing, but you can always hire a new barista) but we simultaneously fetishize the manual labor involved in a pour-over brew, and the process of chatting with a human at the register, the emotional labor. (not to mention someone to complain to/about) For fellow baristas there’s humor in the bot—it occasionally generates nonsense drinks that I can assure you someone has ordered, and in “the customer is always right” fashion have been concocted. So while the tweets themselves are straightforward, they provoke a feeling and open a discussion of biopolitics, gender, class, and interface.

The bot currently tweets every two hours, and is not (yet) interactive