Android Waitress in Chinese Restaurant Goes Viral, Is More Lifelike Than Meets the Eye

An android waitress working at a restaurant in Chongqing, China, went viral last month, mesmerizing viewers with its precise robotic movements, but she turned out to be nothing more than a choreographed illusion.

With the threat of AI-powered robots stealing humans’ jobs looming over the world these days, the sight of a humanoid robot seemingly working as a waitress at a restaurant in China scandalized a lot of people when videos of it started circulating on Douyin (China’s version of TikTok). Some viewers were in awe of the android’s human-like appearance and its ability to interact with real people, greeting them as they entered the Chongqing restaurant, taking their orders, and bringing them to their tables, but others declared themselves a little creeped out by it, a relatively common reaction to the uncanny valley effect. But it turned out that the android waitress was more lifelike than people thought…

The online reactions to the videos of Chongqing’s robotic waitress were so strong that several news outlets went out to see the android firsthand, but reporters got the shock of their lives when they found an actual human posing as an android. It turned out that the waitress was the establishment owner, a 26-year-old entrepreneur with a background in dance.


Ms. Qin said that dance remained her main passion in life, adding that ever since she opened the hotpot restaurant, three years ago, she and her friends routinely put on performances for patrons, as a way to attract new business. But she really struck gold earlier this year, when she started posing as an android, using precise robot-like motions and makeup to make her performance so believable that most new clients couldn’t tell that she was human.


Now, people come to Qin’s restaurant not only for the delicious hotpot and ‘stiff drinks’, but for her android routine as well. Her inventiveness is now being used by state-controlled media as an example of how personal talents and hobbies can be leveraged to stand out in a competitive market.

Posted in News        Tags: , , , , , ,