From left to right: Elad Kobi, CEO of Cecilia.ai, the robot bartender Cecilia, Brian Connors of the Barcadi Center of Excellence at FIU, and Nir Cohen Paraira, Director of Marketing at Cecilia.ai (Twitter/Screenshot) (Twitter/Screenshot)

Kfar Saba startup takes artificial intelligence to the point of no return.

By Pesach Benson, United with Israel

Cecilia’s not like any bartender you’ve seen before, and its not just because she’s seven feet tall.

She’s a robot.

And thanks to her artificial intelligence, cameras and language processing, Cecilia recommends and mixes drinks and even makes small talk.

In an interview with NoCamels published on Wednesday, Cecilia.ai CEO Elad Kobi and Director of Marketing Nir Cohen Paraira said the original robot was developed simply as a fun addition for events.

“We had really good feedback and we understood that we have something here. People really like it and they also asked ‘How can we get it to our office, because it’s very cool,’” Paraira said.

“So when we got that feedback, we understood that we have something much bigger than events and conferences on our hands.”

That how the Kfar Saba-based Cecilia.ai got started.

Cecilia can take orders by a touch screen menu or by voice, understands 40 languages, scans customers’ ID cards to make sure they’re old enough to order, accepts cashless payments, and even provide analytics on the orders.

She’s also a workhorse, capable of preparing 120 drinks in an hour.

Paraira also told NoCamels that the startup entered a partnership with the Bacardi Center of Excellence at Florida International University. The partnership will make Cecilia part of the curriculum “for enriching the students in the fields of hospitality innovation, alternate solutions, and combining mixology with technology.”

Students at the Miami campus, Paraira explained, will learn to develop cocktail menus, invent recipes and mixes, and implement them in Cecilia until it makes the perfect cocktail. In essence, the students will “teach” Cecilia’s AI to make new drinks.

Kobi stressed to NoCamels that Cecilia will supplement bartenders, not replace them.

“In the future, you’re going to see a lot of robotics and interactive machines that are going to interact with different customers in different places,” he said, from hotels, company offices, universities, VIP lounges and even cruise ships.

“The idea is that it can really help businesses with other bartenders to bring a wider menu. Cecilia can also generate new revenue streams anywhere you can put a bar – like a lounge, where you won’t necessarily want to put a new worker, or in a stadium in addition to other bartenders.”

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