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The Solution to Higher Minimum Wage in the Fast Food Industry?

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  • The Solution to Higher Minimum Wage in the Fast Food Industry?

    Just get rid of the people and replace them with robots!

    In a widely cited paper released last year, University of Oxford researchers estimated that there is a 92% chance that fast-food preparation and serving will be automated in the coming decades.

    With artificial-intelligence technology like IBM's (IBM, Fortune 500) Watson platform making strides in advanced reasoning and language understanding, it's not hard to see how robots could be designed to provide more sophisticated interactions with restaurant customers than kiosks can manage.

    Delivery drivers could be replaced en masse by self-driving cars, which are likely to hit the market within a decade or two, or even drones. In food preparation, there are start-ups offering robots for bartending and gourmet hamburger preparation. A food processing company in Spain now uses robots to inspect heads of lettuce on a conveyor belt, throwing out those that don't meet company standards, the Oxford researchers report.

    http://money.cnn.com/2014/05/22/tech...html?hpt=hp_t2

    So all the fast food industry has to do is hold off on the raise in wages for a decade or so. My local Safeway is already pretty close to having no checkers. Self check-out is taking over.

    Yes, folks. Utopia is upon us. Pretty soon, we won't need employees at all! Won't that be great? Who will consume all these products once everybody is out of work? I don't know. But it will be great anyway.

    Never ask to where you are progressing. Just progress!

  • #2
    Form the same article:

    Darren Tristano, a food industry expert with the research firm Technomic, said digital technology will "slowly, over time, create efficiency and labor savings" for restaurants. He guessed that work forces would only drop as a result by 5% or 10% at a maximum in the decades to come, however, given the expectations that customers have for the dining experience.

    "If you look at the thousands of years that consumers have been served alcohol and food by people, it's hard to imagine that things will change that quickly," he said.
    I doubt it'll be as bad as you think Ro. Cost savings may even lead to better pay for fast food employees. The jobs will still be there, they'll just be different.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Rohirrim View Post
      Just get rid of the people and replace them with robots!

      Yes, folks. Utopia is upon us. Pretty soon, we won't need employees at all! Won't that be great? Who will consume all these products once everybody is out of work? I don't know. But it will be great anyway.

      Never ask to where you are progressing. Just progress!
      Yes just progress ...........
      Attached Files

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      • #4
        Originally posted by The Lone Bolt View Post
        Form the same article:



        I doubt it'll be as bad as you think Ro. Cost savings may even lead to better pay for fast food employees. The jobs will still be there, they'll just be different.
        There is also a point of diminishing returns. Robots aren't going to earn wages and spend money, so you can only replace so much of the workforce with them.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Florida_Bronco View Post
          There is also a point of diminishing returns. Robots aren't going to earn wages and spend money, so you can only replace so much of the workforce with them.
          There's the rub. If it will reduce costs for a company, why not? They'll just use that age-old human rationale: "Let the other guy hire people while I use automation." They used that same thinking process for moving jobs offshore. "Well, I'll move my manufacturing offshore, but there will be plenty of places who will stay here and manufacture, supplying jobs to those who will buy my products here." Eventually, the chickens come home to roost in everybody's coop.

          What I wonder lately is if any global corporation gives a damn what happens in America, even corporations that started out American. Hell, the market in India and China is in the billions. Here, it's 300 million, maybe. Why should they care about the U.S.?

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          • #6
            The past 20 years have seen amazing growth in miniaturization of electronics - now all of us carry a computer in our pocket that is far more powerful than the space filling desktop I owned 15 years ago.

            I really think robotics will be the next great boom. amazon is already incorporating them to scour warehouses and move products that are ordered by consumers. If it can be digitalized and scanned then why not have a robot move it? Figuring out how to apply this to other jobs that require essentially no independent thought is a great idea.

            That said I suspect this technology is rather quite a ways a way. I imagine the cost to start retrofitting robots into every fast food restaurant will keep this at bay for quite a while and is hardly a reason to oppose minimum wage increases.

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            • #7
              Hybrid Factory Robots building a Toyota Camry

              Why is this different from the fast food industry?


              <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/82w_r2D1Ooo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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              • #8
                The notion fast food workers need to make more is a joke. Last night went to In and Out for a burger and they got it wrong. Said no Tomatoes, they put tomatoes on. They screw up like that all the time.

                They will be replaced by technology sooner rather then later.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by cutthemdown View Post
                  The notion fast food workers need to make more is a joke. Last night went to In and Out for a burger and they got it wrong. Said no Tomatoes, they put tomatoes on. They screw up like that all the time.

                  They will be replaced by technology sooner rather then later.
                  Sounds like they need to motivate their existing employees or attract more competent employees with higher wages.

                  Why should that worker give a **** about your tomatoes if they're on hour 70 of their 80 hours week (between three jobs) just to make ends meet?
                  Last edited by Fedaykin; 05-22-2014, 07:55 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Roh, you fundamentally misunderstand the point of opening up a business or even a franchise. It isn't to pay more and more to workers and hire as many people as possible. The point is to maximize on the investment. There is always a push for efficiency. If you can do something more cheaply, you do it. It's basic rationality. This isn't charity. It's always a value added vs. cost issue. And that's how it should be.

                    The services provided by a worker has to be worth somewhat more than their compensation, or it makes no sense to employ someone. Look at Seattle, they are going to drive small businesses out to the suburbs with their 15 dollar (phased in) minimum wage. Only reason that passed is they included tips and health care in calculating the 15 dollars. Otherwise, no one would reasonably pay 15 dollars an hour for a burger flipper or barista. The services provided just aren't worth that.
                    Last edited by SoCalBronco; 05-22-2014, 08:01 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SoCalBronco View Post
                      Roh, you fundamentally misunderstand the point of opening up a business or even a franchise. It isn't to pay more and more to workers and hire as many people as possible. The point is to maximize on the investment. There is always a push for efficiency. If you can do something more cheaply, you do it. It's basic rationality. This isn't charity. It's always a value added vs. cost issue. And that's how it should be.
                      The point is: once you get rid of all the employees, you no longer have any customers either.

                      Business, employees and customers are all interdependent. All three are requisite components of a symbiotic whole. Good luck getting a high ROI if you destroy your customer base.

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                      • #12
                        Fast food robots are just the latest in hundreds of examples of the Luddite Fallacy. Machines are stealing our jobs!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SoCalBronco View Post
                          Roh, you fundamentally misunderstand the point of opening up a business or even a franchise. It isn't to pay more and more to workers and hire as many people as possible. The point is to maximize on the investment. There is always a push for efficiency. If you can do something more cheaply, you do it. It's basic rationality. This isn't charity. It's always a value added vs. cost issue. And that's how it should be.

                          The services provided by a worker has to be worth somewhat more than their compensation, or it makes no sense to employ someone. Look at Seattle, they are going to drive small businesses out to the suburbs with their 15 dollar (phased in) minimum wage. Only reason that passed is they included tips and health care in calculating the 15 dollars. Otherwise, no one would reasonably pay 15 dollars an hour for a burger flipper or barista. The services provided just aren't worth that.
                          Businesses in Seattle agreed to the $15/hr wage plan. Obviously they think they can handle it.

                          But I agree with you on efficiency. Costs are based on how much energy/effort/expense the product requires to make. Less of those things means cheaper and better products, which leads to consumers saving money, which leads to more business and more jobs in other sectors of the economy. I don't think we have anything to fear from robots and increasingly sophisticated AI. I welcome it.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Fedaykin View Post
                            Sounds like they need to motivate their existing employees or attract more competent employees with higher wages.

                            Why should that worker give a **** about your tomatoes if they're on hour 70 of their 80 hours week (between three jobs) just to make ends meet?
                            Maybe we could make jr college program just for fast wood workers. A whole new industry to build up to a real career that can't be outsourced.

                            Fed you are a genius.

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                            • #15
                              This was on the Newshour yesterday about Seattle's minimum raise:

                              http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/quali...m-wage-afford/

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