In recent earnings, IBM has appeared to pull itself out of its revenue woes. In its latest technology venture, Big Blue is embracing drones for coffee delivery, as first spotted by the Financial Times.
A patent filed by the company on August 7 said the drones will be equipped with artificial intelligence to determine an individual's mental state. "A caffeine containing drink is to be delivered to individuals that would like the drink, or who has a predetermined cognitive state, using an unmanned aerial vehicle/drone," according to the patent.
Analysis of the delivery's recipients can include profiles, calendar information and even sleep cycle data, which can be used to construct a "predetermined cognitive state." Sensors will be used to identify a person's cognitive state or to understand a gesture suggesting the person wants a drink.
IBM's latest proposal might just put Google's infamous office nap pods to bed (pun intended).
A coffee drone is the latest futuristic venture Big Blue is taking for workplace innovation. The analysis sculpted around the coffee drone's target would have to exhibit or embody signals that warrant caffeine intake.
The drone has to identify a candidate worthy of a caffeinated drink and that could be a slippery slope. A drone mistaking someone's natural features for one of tiredness may result in an HR complaint or at the very least a trip to the bathroom to apply some under-eye concealer.
AI has underlying biases to overcome. The integrity of the data AI uses to make decisions is a real issue that needs resolve. Addressing such issues is likely a concern of scientists and HR departments.
A coffee drone could be HR's dream or worst nightmare. Drones are controversial by reputation, but the idea of never receiving another complaint about burnt coffee from the office machine might be enough to expedite drone purchase orders.
IBM now owns the intellectual property of coffee drones and could essentially have a patent on one of the future's brightest innovations — or one hot spill away from one of the future's dimmest ideas.
For now, the prospects are optimistic. "If coffee delivery and consumption is carried out in a public location where it is visible to others, social psychology suggests that the public nature of the serving and consumption will stimulate others to desire coffee in a phenomenon known as 'social proof,' or informal social influence," according to the patent.
As a result, drone-delivered coffee could make employees more alert and more personable.