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(Fortune)   "If the rise of the fast food robots encourages people to broaden their skillset and seek greater opportunity elsewhere, the world will be doubly better for it"   (fortune.com) divider line
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279 clicks; posted to Business » on 30 Nov 2021 at 1:13 PM (8 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



49 Comments     (+0 »)
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2021-11-30 12:57:33 PM  
So the savings in food production will be passed on to customers right?
 
Juc
2021-11-30 1:16:24 PM  
Will the robots get just the right amount of spit in my burgers when I order just before closing time though?
 
2021-11-30 1:19:17 PM  
OK, sure, but in the meantime these robots do very limited tasks.  A cooking timer is a labor saving robot.  We have kitchens filled them, but we still use humans to take orders, assemble burgers, put things in bags, etc. because humans are really good at those flexible tasks.

I don't know how much labor you truly save to have a robot that just flips burgers.  One person generally does that along with 10 other tasks.  Does the robot go to the stockroom to get more burgers?  Does the robot clean the grill?  You still need the humans there doing a lot of things.
 
2021-11-30 1:19:20 PM  
A restaurant kitchen without human drama?
Fark user imageView Full Size
'Why isn't that order ready yet?'

'Because you foolishly designed me with only two hands. Don't make me go sentient on your ass!'
 
2021-11-30 1:25:53 PM  
They kept the Stainless Steel Rat alive and safe.
 
2021-11-30 1:30:43 PM  

oldfarthenry: A restaurant kitchen without human drama?
[Fark user image 640x320]'Why isn't that order ready yet?'
'Because you foolishly designed me with only two hands. Don't make me go sentient on your ass!'


Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-11-30 1:30:58 PM  
Because as we all know, automation has always meant people working fewer hours for more pay in jobs they prefer.  Just like the propaganda told us back in the 50s.
 
2021-11-30 1:31:55 PM  
The headline is a lie, i have corrected it for truth.


Rise of the (fast food) robots: How greed shortages are is accelerating automation.


labor is a cost, and one no one wants to pay it, that's just fooking sharing and sharing is for suckers.
 
2021-11-30 1:43:08 PM  
Demanding to see the manager is a lot less satisfying when it's an LED screen.

I'm a little concerned because a lot of these positions are starting points for young people with no job skills and many if not most don't have the means to "broaden their skillset" without income which they can no longer get because Charlie Bucket's dad is now fixing the toothpaste cap robot.
 
2021-11-30 1:51:02 PM  
My question is how do the people removed by a bot get the chance to broaden their skills? Most of them don't make enough to be able to save money to go to school, it's not gonna get better without a job. Can we expect McD, Wendy's and BK to pay their tuition and cost of living while they're in school? Unlikely, isn't it? So then you'll end up with people in a much worst spot than they were before, unless additional support is brought to them. I don't expect that to happen though, and that's where the tragedy lies.
 
2021-11-30 1:59:32 PM  

AlgaeRancher: So the savings in food production will be passed on to customers right?


There are no savings to replace five employees making $20K with one technician making $100K.
 
2021-11-30 2:04:53 PM  

AlgaeRancher: So the savings in food production will be passed on to customers right?


Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-11-30 2:06:23 PM  
They need to get fast food restaurants to the point they're like McSwiney's in the Stainless Steel Rat... completely automated.
 
2021-11-30 2:09:16 PM  

Zykstar: My question is how do the people removed by a bot get the chance to broaden their skills? Most of them don't make enough to be able to save money to go to school, it's not gonna get better without a job. Can we expect McD, Wendy's and BK to pay their tuition and cost of living while they're in school? Unlikely, isn't it? So then you'll end up with people in a much worst spot than they were before, unless additional support is brought to them. I don't expect that to happen though, and that's where the tragedy lies.


This is exactly right. In a broad sense, automation is a good thing, because it allows us to outsource menial, unsavory, and/or dangerous jobs/tasks to machines, thus freeing up more human time. But we live in a world where people have to perform labor to earn the right to continue living--in a better world, these workers would be freed, not displaced.

UBI and cost-free education would fix this problem.

People should not have to work just to prove they don't deserve to die.
 
2021-11-30 2:10:41 PM  
"The world needs to give those workers replaced by robots different jobs!"

No, the world needs to give those people money. These aren't the same thing.
 
2021-11-30 2:27:39 PM  
They say this all the time but if it were actually true it would be done already. Go to a factory, automation is everywhere. It is only on a micro scale in food service for a reason. Machines are expensive and only make sense at a scale larger than the fast food restaurant.

Seriously, have you seen industrial machines? Worked with them? The things they do well and fast food are miles apart. And once you have them you need dedicated operators and maintenance.
 
2021-11-30 2:30:16 PM  
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Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-11-30 2:32:02 PM  

austerity101: "The world needs to give those workers replaced by robots different jobs!"

No, the world needs to give those people money. These aren't the same thing.


The world owes us money! And healthcare. And higher education. And housing. And food. And broadband.
 
2021-11-30 2:42:33 PM  
The Rise of min wage coding.

And there was much (rich ppl) rejoicing.
 
2021-11-30 2:44:21 PM  

austerity101: Zykstar: My question is how do the people removed by a bot get the chance to broaden their skills? Most of them don't make enough to be able to save money to go to school, it's not gonna get better without a job. Can we expect McD, Wendy's and BK to pay their tuition and cost of living while they're in school? Unlikely, isn't it? So then you'll end up with people in a much worst spot than they were before, unless additional support is brought to them. I don't expect that to happen though, and that's where the tragedy lies.

This is exactly right. In a broad sense, automation is a good thing, because it allows us to outsource menial, unsavory, and/or dangerous jobs/tasks to machines, thus freeing up more human time. But we live in a world where people have to perform labor to earn the right to continue living--in a better world, these workers would be freed, not displaced.

UBI and cost-free education would fix this problem.

People should not have to work just to prove they don't deserve to die.


Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-11-30 2:44:46 PM  

CCNCP: The world owes us money! And healthcare. And higher education. And housing. And food. And broadband.


FTFY
 
2021-11-30 3:05:35 PM  

Dr.Fey: CCNCP: The world owes us money! And healthcare. And higher education. And housing. And food. And broadband.

FTFY


Took me a second to catch it. Very clever. The think i hate about Chinese communism is that privately owned corporations own trillions of dollars worth of factories that exploit billions of chinese workers with starvation wages. And also China has the 2nd highest number of billionaires - https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/15/dominos-ceo-us-needs-more-immigration-to-address-worker-shortages.html

But aside from that and the human rights violations and genocide, the CCP is pretty good.
 
2021-11-30 3:08:52 PM  

CCNP: But aside from that and the human rights violations and genocide, the CCP is pretty good.


Actually, I was going with Союз Советских Социалистических Республик a/k/a CCCP a/k/a USSR

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-11-30 3:17:00 PM  
Business owners don't want to spend money to employ people. They'll just point at reduced sales to justify it, blind to the logic that people who can't get paid to work won't have money to spend on stuff.
 
2021-11-30 3:18:48 PM  

Thanks for the Meme-ries: austerity101: Zykstar: My question is how do the people removed by a bot get the chance to broaden their skills? Most of them don't make enough to be able to save money to go to school, it's not gonna get better without a job. Can we expect McD, Wendy's and BK to pay their tuition and cost of living while they're in school? Unlikely, isn't it? So then you'll end up with people in a much worst spot than they were before, unless additional support is brought to them. I don't expect that to happen though, and that's where the tragedy lies.

This is exactly right. In a broad sense, automation is a good thing, because it allows us to outsource menial, unsavory, and/or dangerous jobs/tasks to machines, thus freeing up more human time. But we live in a world where people have to perform labor to earn the right to continue living--in a better world, these workers would be freed, not displaced.

UBI and cost-free education would fix this problem.

People should not have to work just to prove they don't deserve to die.

[Fark user image 640x428]


We are going to get to the Expanse kind of society sooner or later. We can't keep pretending that everyone that "needs a job" per se will be able to actually find a job. I'd like to see more people helping, think like quasi-volunteer work, but the reality is we're rapidly approaching the point where we'll need "Basic" because there won't be enough jobs to go around. As farming, fast food, entry level work in general, gets more automated, we can't realistically pretend that everyone is going to work.

That stupid Rethuglican bumper sticker, "Work, people on welfare are counting on you!" will become very real... very quickly... for Republicans. Small family farms won't be able to compete and they will be crushed except for a few that service specialty markets. We already see cattle ranchers going the way of chicken farmers: soon they won't own the cattle they are raising. All because of policies by the very people they gleefully vote for because they hate them durty demonrats. This will only get more and more common, until we actually do end up with "basic assistance" (aka UBI) for a large number of people.
 
2021-11-30 3:24:36 PM  
Automating easy/monotonous tasks isn't actually cheaper than hiring/training human workers, and never will be, because developers want to make lots of money and absolutely WILL NOT sell you something that's better than what you already have for (much) cheaper than what you're already paying.

Automation lets you perform MANY MORE of those same dumb repetitive tasks for the same cost or slightly more than you would have paid with human workers. It's not a decrease in costs, it's an increase in productivity. You only get to call it "savings" when you drastically scale back on the size of your operation to maintain pre-automation levels of productivity, which is the kind of thing you do when you're a shiatty businessman who doesn't know how to do anything other than count money and shuffle spreadsheets around.
 
2021-11-30 3:31:03 PM  
Get rid of fast food entirely. Let food trucks take over. Tiny menus hand made by passionate folk.
 
2021-11-30 3:35:36 PM  

AlgaeRancher: So the savings in food production will be passed on to customers right?


Bad idea. Tax the robots and use the money for UBI and extended education.
 
2021-11-30 3:37:41 PM  

Rapmaster2000: OK, sure, but in the meantime these robots do very limited tasks.  A cooking timer is a labor saving robot.  We have kitchens filled them, but we still use humans to take orders, assemble burgers, put things in bags, etc. because humans are really good at those flexible tasks.

I don't know how much labor you truly save to have a robot that just flips burgers.  One person generally does that along with 10 other tasks.  Does the robot go to the stockroom to get more burgers?  Does the robot clean the grill?  You still need the humans there doing a lot of things.


You are assuming kitchens designed like human kitchens and robots designed like humans. When you stop trying to make robots fit a human mold, robotics progress speeds up exponentially.
 
2021-11-30 3:38:40 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: Because as we all know, automation has always meant people working fewer hours for more pay in jobs they prefer.  Just like the propaganda told us back in the 50s.


Unionize and take ownership of automation and efficiency.
 
2021-11-30 3:45:35 PM  
I don't think automation makes sense in a kitchen.  There aren't enough people working in a kitchen to offset the cost.  You will still need people to operate and clean the robots, as well as a technician to maintain them.  That doesn't seem worth the millions it would cost to buy these robots.
 
2021-11-30 3:46:06 PM  

CCNP: austerity101: "The world needs to give those workers replaced by robots different jobs!"

No, the world needs to give those people money. These aren't the same thing.

The world owes us money! And healthcare. And higher education. And housing. And food. And broadband.


Have you ever noticed the people who cry loudest for socialism (free money) are the college kids who have never worked a day in their life? Because I have...
 
kab
2021-11-30 3:49:04 PM  

AlgaeRancher: So the savings in food production will be passed on to customers right?


Absolutely.  Just like the savings have been passed on in grocery stores who have reduced cashier hours and now charge customers for bags.

Oh, wait.
 
2021-11-30 3:55:08 PM  

KB202: Rapmaster2000: OK, sure, but in the meantime these robots do very limited tasks.  A cooking timer is a labor saving robot.  We have kitchens filled them, but we still use humans to take orders, assemble burgers, put things in bags, etc. because humans are really good at those flexible tasks.

I don't know how much labor you truly save to have a robot that just flips burgers.  One person generally does that along with 10 other tasks.  Does the robot go to the stockroom to get more burgers?  Does the robot clean the grill?  You still need the humans there doing a lot of things.

You are assuming kitchens designed like human kitchens and robots designed like humans. When you stop trying to make robots fit a human mold, robotics progress speeds up exponentially.


A workspace designed to be used by robots for food prep and not by people is not a "kitchen." It's an entire production system you have to design from scratch and quantify, program and test literally every part of if and what it does and train a support team to handle everything it can't do.

At that point you're pretty much reinvented the wheel by attaching wings and a jet engine to it. You could still call that a "kitchen" if you like but 90% of all restaurants will never have that.
 
2021-11-30 3:59:35 PM  
I, for one, welcome our new food service overlords...

and yes, I would like fries with that
 
2021-11-30 4:04:14 PM  

akallen404: Automation lets you perform MANY MORE of those same dumb repetitive tasks for the same cost or slightly more than you would have paid with human workers. It's not a decrease in costs, it's an increase in productivity. You only get to call it "savings" when you drastically scale back on the size of your operation to maintain pre-automation levels of productivity, which is the kind of thing you do when you're a shiatty businessman who doesn't know how to do anything other than count money and shuffle spreadsheets around.


Um, there's only so many hamburgers... all hot store-bought meals altogether... you can sell in a given day in Albany, Texas.  You could make 50,000 a day. There's only 2,000 people.  Maybe you could offsite everything and nuke them there, but if people wanted that, they'd get it in a frozen box at Dollar General.
 
2021-11-30 4:38:26 PM  

TheSubjunctive: akallen404: Automation lets you perform MANY MORE of those same dumb repetitive tasks for the same cost or slightly more than you would have paid with human workers. It's not a decrease in costs, it's an increase in productivity. You only get to call it "savings" when you drastically scale back on the size of your operation to maintain pre-automation levels of productivity, which is the kind of thing you do when you're a shiatty businessman who doesn't know how to do anything other than count money and shuffle spreadsheets around.

Um, there's only so many hamburgers... all hot store-bought meals altogether... you can sell in a given day in Albany, Texas.  You could make 50,000 a day. There's only 2,000 people.  Maybe you could offsite everything and nuke them there, but if people wanted that, they'd get it in a frozen box at Dollar General.


Which is why the manufacture of very cheap frozen pre-cooked burger patties that nobody wants to eat is basically automated. That's literally the model we're talking about: replacing an entire restaurant with what is essentially a factory (may or may not even be on site) and a microwave to heat things when ordered. Can think of a reason why that might not be a great business idea?

OTOH, the myriad tasks that would prevent a dramatic drop in product quality -- tasks which  may be too time consuming or too difficult to achieve manually -- are suddenly possible with an automated process. Your increased productivity manifests in the fact that you are now selling gourmet burgers made to order with the quality and presentation of a four star restaurant combined with the speed and convenience of a vending machine. You could probably raise your prices and still capture demand, and the staff you took off the food prep tasks focussing on upselling your customers to the most expensive item they can push.

TLDR; there are two kinds of businessmen: people who want to make more money, and people who want to spend less.
 
2021-11-30 4:42:59 PM  
McDonalds can't even keep their milkshake machines working with supervised staff to operate and maintain them.

How do they expect a human to fix the McRobot with a McError code of McPaTE165?
 
2021-11-30 4:49:40 PM  
baronbloodbath

The story so far is an invalid error code that has to be cleared with a service call. And for some reason McD is okay with this downtime. Robots can be programmed to just clear the code.
 
2021-11-30 4:50:13 PM  
Easily automated. Someone never worked in a kitchen before.
 
2021-11-30 4:52:45 PM  

baronbloodbath: McDonalds can't even keep their milkshake machines working with supervised staff to operate and maintain them.

How do they expect a human to fix the McRobot with a McError code of McPaTE165?


Open a McTicket with the helpdesk. They'll get back to you in 1 to 3 business days. 🤷🏾♂
 
2021-11-30 4:55:03 PM  

recondite cetacean: baronbloodbath

Robots can be programmed to just clear the code.


Every IT professional in history: "You'd like to think so, wouldn't you?"
 
2021-11-30 4:57:54 PM  
McDonalds taught us you just need one clown to run the whole shop...

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2021-11-30 5:02:45 PM  

baronbloodbath: McDonalds can't even keep their milkshake machines working with supervised staff to operate and maintain them.

How do they expect a human to fix the McRobot with a McError code of McPaTE165?


"Hello, IT. Have you turned it off and on again?"
 
2021-11-30 6:25:38 PM  

inglixthemad: They need to get fast food restaurants to the point they're like McSwiney's in the Stainless Steel Rat... completely automated.


Being back automats
 
2021-11-30 7:58:43 PM  
An early prototype
Chitty Chitty Breakfast Pickering
Youtube Qc9h6FC6QgU

of an automated food system
 
2021-11-30 8:23:32 PM  

Bukharin: inglixthemad: They need to get fast food restaurants to the point they're like McSwiney's in the Stainless Steel Rat... completely automated.

Being back automats


They weren't totally automatic, people were putting food in from the kitchen. McSwiney's was completely automatic, to the point that the only human workers are the maintenance people that have to show up if something breaks, which is rare.
 
2021-11-30 8:33:43 PM  

The Ice Cream Man: An early prototype

of an automated food system


Any surprise that was written by the same guy who created Q Division?
 
2021-12-01 5:08:54 AM  
Some people don't take personal pride in a career and aren't interested in doing more in that arena than going to work, getting paid, and going home. They value other things. "Broaden their skillset and seek greater opportunity" sounds like a weird religious evangelism for Protestant work ethics.
 
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