Vienna is a beautiful city, once the seat of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and home of the Habsburgs. Its coffee houses are legendary, and its pastries sublime. Yet increasingly it's becoming famous for a new tradition--the annual gathering of bartending robots--Roboexotica. (For those of you who have read my Simpsons book, I mention it on p. 97.) As its website describes:
"It is the first and, inevitably, the leading festival concerned with cocktail robotics world-wide. A micro mechanical change of paradigm in the age of borderless capital. Alan Turing would doubtless test this out."
The 2007 festival is taking place this weekend. It's co-sponsored by Shifz, makers of the Mind-O-Matic Brainwashing Machine, who advertise that "a daily brainwashing is more important that brushing your teeth."
Vienna is also home of the band Falco. One of their songs "Ganz Wien" begins with the lines:
"Er geht auf der Straß'n
Sagt nicht wohin,
Das Hirn voll 'heavy Metal,'
Und seine Leber ist hin"
loosely translated as: "He's going up the street, not saying where. His brain is full of heavy metal but his liver's not there."
Perhaps the song is describing one of the cocktail-mixing robots heading to Roboexotica..