You and your lover are gently drifting down the canals of Venice without a care in the world. The gondola—piloted by Robo-seppe, a kindly automaton with the eyes of a robot half his age—cuts through the water with the precision of a thousand Genovese nanobots. A trio of Roombas begin to emit a chiptune version of "Ave Maria" from a nearby bridge. You and your paramour begin to embrace, when all of a sudden, a passing drone is kind enough to airdrop you a bottle of limoncello.
Classic Italia, right?
OK, so maybe it's not—like, at all—but this just might be the Italy of tomorrow if disruptor startups like Zume Pizza have their way.
For those who might not have heard of it before, Zume Pizza is the brainchild of an entrepreneur and former video-game executive named Alex Garden. He told Bloomberg that he wants to change the way pizza delivery works, and he decided to start with how pizza is made. By adding robots to the chain of events that stretch from dough-rolling to actual delivery, Garden says he can disrupt the pizza industry.
A Zume pizza starts with a human, who delivers a disc of dough to a robot named Marta. She spreads the sauce on it— "perfectly but not too perfectly," Garden says, to preserve the artisanal appearance of the pizza. Then, humans apply the cheese and toppings, but Bruno—another robot—gently puts the pizza into the oven.
The first oven that a Zume pizza encounters will only partially cook the pizza; the most innovative part of Zume Pizza, according to Garden, is that another small oven, big enough for one pizza and located in the pizza delivery truck, will finish the cooking. Each Zuma pizza delivery truck will have 56 of these remote-controlled ovens so customers will be sure to receive a hot pizza with each delivery.
Garden says that with the help of robots like Bruno and Marta, his company will be able to deliver hot and delicious pizza in 15 minutes, all for the same low price as your basic pizza chain. Garden sees his business as "Domino's without the labor" costs, so he's hoping for a very profitable business. Sure, jobs may be lost but that's inevitable, he says. "This isn't about pizza," according to Garden. It's about the future.
Alas, Zume isn't yet at the stage where it has completely forsaken fleshbags like us entirely in its quest for pizza technocracy. In fact, here's a photo of some dude who apparently delivers for them. Do you think he's a cylon beneath that cunning grin?
Either way, that must be one hell of a lonely break room, although we hear that Bruno does do a cracking Leno impression.