Flippy The Robotic Burger Maker Will Eventually Take Away All The Fast Food Jobs

Submitted by: fancylad 6 months ago in
5

There was a time not too long ago when anyone could rely on a job at the local fast food restaurant -- flipping burgers, making fries, and bam -- a weekly paycheck for menial labor. Then fast food employees started wanted higher wages, insurance, and benefits.

Enter Flippy -- the robot burger flipper who gets the order right every time and literally does all the heavy lifting.

Oh, you want \$15 an hour for making hamburgers? You're fired, ingrate! Flippy works for free, he doesn't need benefits, and he never takes a break!
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Male 3
Used to work at Steak N' Shake during rush hour.
9 patties is approximately the number of patties for 1 1/2 drive through orders.
Bear in mind, you need to constantly be adding more rows of patties to account for the other orders piling up behind the current one you are cooking (usually about 15 cars).

If you want it to beat the Grill man, the robot would need to be able to look at the order screen data at regular intervals and sum up how many total patties are needed and compare that to how many patties are already down on the grill fulfilling the orders on the screen and the maximum number of patties the grill could hold. Then it would calculate how many new patties to put down. Then it would need to clear any order data as those patties have been taken off the grill.

It also doesn't move fast enough to do this.

Male 1,239
\$15/hr x 10 employees = \$150/hr. Open 10 hours = \$1500 a day. 7 days a week =  \$10,500 a week. 1 year, 52 weeks minus Christmas and 4th of July = \$543000 a year. Robot = \$150,000. Priceless. Do the math.
Male 80
scheckydamon well i can do the math but your values are wrong so your conclusion is wrong.
1. You are comparing 10 employee costs vs. one robot.  At best I bet the robot can only replace three employees and probably not even that.  So that doesn't work out as well.

2. the the robot has maintenance costs and daily usage cost. So it is not a one time fee and you are done.  So it also has per hour cost.

3. you have obviously never done labor costs before.  The employer has to match your social security cost, unemployment tax and part of your taxes (past what the employee pays).  The standard benchmark is and additional 15%.

4. I am totally against raising the minimum wage to 15 USD/hour.

Male 604
They say flippy, I see Francis X. Clampazzo.
Male 39,531
You won't like it when Flippy spits lubricant on your Big Mac
Male 97
Gerry1of1 i knew it all along!  The secret sauce was lube!
Male 292
Hate to say it but at least in my area there will be a dramatic improvement in the quality of the food.
Male 1,689
Flippy probably has an up-front cost of tens of thousands of dollars, plus electricity and maintenance costs.

That being said, in the long run, flippy might be cheaper. :)
Male 8,415
bliznik As numbers go up, cost would decrease.

I've seen burger joints where the person filling the drinks only had to put empty cups on a conveyor, everything else was automatic. How hard is it to automate placing empty cups?

Cashiers are giving away to touch-screen kiosks. It's cheaper and people are getting where they prefer push-button over face-to-face.  (It's sad, but most kids think the phonecall function of their smart phone is just another useless app that comes pre-loaded with the software, slightly less useful than the weather app.)

I've had to explain to a cashier how much change to give me back when the order was \$3.74 and I handed her a five.  The screen was broke and she could not make change.  (I said 'You owe me a dollar, a quarter and a penny'.  Her reply, 'But, how do you know that?')

Electricity would be pennies compared to paying a wage.  One well paid guy could maintain dozens of flippys.

Congrats, these people are pricing themselves out of a job. Time to learn skills.

It's called evolution in action.
Male 1,689
megrendel

True, which is encompassed by the phrase "in the long run."

Your cashier story reminded me of a time I was charged \$7.89. I had extra dollars in my wallet, and extra change in my pocket, so I gave the woman \$13.14 so that I could get back \$5.25 and reduce the amount of change I had. She looked at me so strangely, and said, "It's only \$7.89 sir." and I said, "I know, but I prefer less physical change." and we went back and forth on it for a while before I just asked her to plug it into the cash register and please give me the change.

So many people can't math...
Male 20,825
bliznik Also, Flippy doesn't swipe 20s from the till or give free Big Macs to his buddies hanging out in the parking lot.
Male 7,782
Living wage.
Male 4,021
normalfreak2 Must be earned. There, finished it for you.
Male 7,782
trimble I should have clarified Universal Basic Income.
Male 8,415
normalfreak2 Something for nothing. (Even more clear).
Male 7,782
megrendel Listen when all those truck drivers get laid off because a robot is driving for them we will have to do SOMETHING.  All of the studies show that people just don't sit there and do nothing.  When giving a basic living income it will allow people to pursue their DREAMS and the things they want.  There's been 3 or 4 studies on it and it's being tested in Finland.

I think you'll find Libertarians are very interested in this idea.  If you are interested I'd be happy to share some more on UBI.  It's a very interesting idea in a world of automation.
Male 4,098
...it will allow people to pursue their DREAMS and the things they want.

Yea, or increase drug use and make everything more expensive to the point where it doesn't matter anymore.
Male 7,782
Male 4,098
normalfreak2

Thanks for linking that article, yet I'm not so sure I agree with it. Although, I have to say, I liked the part where it said "Efficiency-minded libertarians like the idea of streamlining the bureaucracy of the welfare state." I thought that was both an artful and delicate way of stating it.

But back to the point, look at history, whenever the feds give money to everyone most states just raise their taxes to match. For example after the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, most states raised state taxes and housing prices began to increase as states and businesses tried to pull in the money from the larger than normal tax rebate checks people were getting.

From an economic standpoint essentially all you are doing is inflating your economy. Think of it like this, there is a finite amount of money in circulation and a finite amount of wealth that America possesses. Yet for universal income you'll need to print more money. Now as you do the value of every dollar decreases, along with interest rates, with each newly printed dollar.  You end up with higher prices, lower interest rates, more money in circulation, and a lower purchasing power of your currency...A.K.A inflation.

Now with higher inflation the poor may have more money, it just doesn't go as far anymore and could actually push them into a higher tax bracket if they were near the line. Another effect is that naturally occurring economic ressesions get worse and last longer. But here is the real kicker, even if I'm all wrong and it worked, it could only last for a decade because by 2026 all incoming government revenue will already be totally consumed by the mandatory spending obligations according to the CBO.
Male 7,782
But here is the real kicker, even if I'm all wrong and it worked, it could only last for a decade because by 2026 all incoming government revenue will already be totally consumed by the mandatory spending obligations according to the CBO.

I think you are basing that on current spending and the current social structure?  Correct me if I'm wrong.  The Living Wage would take Billions off the table and reallocate it.  Mind you it would require some pretty radical reforms but our Economy is going to have a serious reckoning possibly in my life time.  Automation will change everything we do and how we do it.  The day Trucks become automated America will be losing 1/4 of it's workforce.  It's time we started thinking PROACTIVELY instead of REACTIVELY and at the same time cut out bureaucracy.

Also as a joke/jab since when do you care about what the CBO thinks, you are all for the new Trumpcare bill right?  ;)
Male 4,098
normalfreak2

I'll take the jab in good humor, but I've been pretty clear and consistent on my views of Trump and on healthcare. I don't favor big huge omnibus bills that reshape entire departments of government and/or increase the debt. I think bills should be small, focused, and passed in parts when doing a reform of this level so that the public can react to each detail and we can cut the "freeriders" and "pork."

I'm basing that quote on the most recent CBO report and those figures have been repeatedly verified by outside sources. It's also not just current spending and the current social structure. This problem is caused by mandatory spending obligations that the federal government has been committed to since the 1940's. So when you're talking about pretty radical reforms you're talking about basically gutting social security and medicare. Even if you totally defunded all other sectors of government like the military, you'd still end up with the same problem, it's that bad.

You and I have talked about automation before and yes at some point truck drivers and other jobs may become automated. But it's not going to happen all at once and suddenly 1/4 of America's workforce will suddenly becomes unemployed. It will happen over time and that occupation will slowly be phased out in favor of others. For instance about a hundred years ago, according to the Bureau of labor Statistics, 31% of workers in 1910 worked in farm occupations and 52.4% of Americans were under the age of 25 years old. Now I could go back in time and say "hey guys, automation is going to cause most of your jobs to be taken by big farming equipment that will allow a single farmer to plant, irrigate, and harvest miles and miles of crops. People are also going to live longer meaning that jobs will take longer to free up new positions. So it's time we started thinking PROACTIVELY instead of REACTIVELY."  Now I wouldn't be wrong, in saying that, but it gives the impression that somehow 31% of the workforce will be wiped out overnight and that all these people will be jobless, creating economic chaos. When in reality those occupations were phased out naturally and replaced by other occupations that had never existed before.

I understand that it sounds responsible to say we need to be "thinking PROACTIVELY instead of REACTIVELY" but the markets regulate themselves on price indicators. For example companies will only lay fiber lines in places that have shown an interest in having high speed connections and is already ready to have the lines put in. They base their decision on the cost to install the lines vs. the revenue it generates. We could say "hey we need to think PROACTIVELY instead of REACTIVELY, computers are going to get faster and the information being passed more complex." But if you act on that, you end up with the dot com bubble, where you've invested billions and billions in new fiber lines that aren't needed right now. The reason markets need to follow the price indicators, is because they are the most accurate and up to date information on the health and direction of the market currently. When money and resources are invested on projections, hopes, or fears of the future it creates a mismanagement of resources that results in major waste and inefficiency.
Male 7,782
richanddead So what do you say about the current Coal Miner issue?  A lot of those jobs in Easter PA and Western WV are gone to automation and what are they doing for replacement jobs?  Those jobs pretty much disappeared overnight and there's a huge problem with drugs, and poverty now.  Isn't that a good barometer of what will happen with low skilled workers getting replaced en masse?  I think the low skill jobs are the issue.  A low skill person doesn't suddenly have the skills to do more complex tasks.
Male 4,098
normalfreak2 They get trained in new jobs or move to the newly opened mines. Coal is getting out competed by other forms of energy, partially due to legislation and partially due to the public's view of it. As jobs are ending for coal miners, they are opening up for natural gas workers.

The reason I think it's a bad barometer, because the process of automation isn't the only thing causing the people to become unemployed in the coal industry. It's also legislation and public outcry that are accelerating the decline. If it was just automation, the coal industry wouldn't be declining anywhere as fast as it is.

I also disagree with the notion that a low skilled person doesn't suddenly have the skills to do more complex tasks. From a purely literal standpoint it's technically true, but so called "low skill persons" usually have to build the skills to do more complex tasks in the new job. Warehouse workers learn to be forklift drivers, cashiers become managers, greenhorn construction workers become machinery operators, newbie railway workers become boxcar welders. Most jobs that take in low skilled persons for their workforce often have systems set up to teach new employees how to perform their functions and if they work out well, they'll teach them higher order positions or send them out for more training to do so.
Male 7,782
richanddead I think the problem is automation is going to affect all industries equally at the same time.  I don't know what "low skill jobs" will be available in the future in America.  From the trends I've been reading and studying it's going to be a massive displacement of the workforce in 50-70 years.  Now it could be a bunch of hooey but from what I've been seeing in my field it wouldn't shock me  Moore's law and all.