Is there nothing human beings cannot do? We've been able to put people on the moon since 1969. And we've got the pandemic on the run with multiple vaccines. But now a robot is delivering coffee to tables in a bakery in Canberra. And - the ultimate feat - that coffee can have your very own photo etched on the top in chocolate. Proprietor Jack Wang says the non-human delivery was because of COVID: "Because of the coronavirus, everywhere shut down, especially hospitality. That's why we bring this to my small coffee shop to reduce the pressure on my staff." A real human waiter makes the coffee behind the bar while the robot - which is like a rolling stack of shelves - waits at the end. The human then puts the coffee on the robot's tray and programs in the table to deliver it to. The robot takes the coffee to the table, with its sensors helping it navigate around obstacles. The customer takes the coffee and the robot swishes back to the counter. The personalised coffee is another matter. The customer scans a QR code on the machine, uploads a picture, and the machine whirrs a bit until out comes the coffee with the image on the top. But the robot is the star. "It can do delivery and table service for the customer. It shows the customer our latest offer and it can play video and dance with the kids. It can do lots of features," Mr Wang said. It has to be said that the robot can be a bit intrusive. It keeps saying: "Talk to me." Perhaps it needs table manners. "When the robot meets with the customer, the robot will automatically ask the customer every five seconds to see if they need help." There is a serious point to all this. Several companies now make robot waiters and their sales pitch is that a robot is cheaper than a human. As restaurant industry publication Budget Branders puts it: "Compared to the cost of one or more employees to perform the same function, these robots likely represent a massive cost saving." They are also alleged to be more reliable than human waiters: "As long as staff input the correct order and send it to the right table, there should be fewer errors in getting the proper order to customers." READ MORE: But before you say that they will take away jobs, remember economists believe that technology doesn't make people unemployed, it lifts an economy by freeing labour for new tasks. When petrol pump attendants disappeared, unemployment did not rise. And the argument is that robots complement existing staff, rather than replacing them. It's even claimed that in American restaurants, robots meant tipping to humans improved. "Employees were able to spend more time with customers, and to serve more tables. This resulted in higher customer satisfaction and larger tips." But robots can't deal with dissatisfied customers, say if a meal arrives cold. Shouting at a robot may increase the temperature of the room but not the food. We've made it a whole lot easier for you to have your say. Our new comment platform requires only one log-in to access articles and to join the discussion on The Canberra Times website. Find out how to register so you can enjoy civil, friendly and engaging discussions. See our moderation policy here.