The singularity may be finally here, at least as far as fast food is concerned. A company called Momentum Machines has built a robot that can produce 360 burgers per hour, using gourmet methods, to boot.
The burger-bot was designed to displace two to three full-time kitchen workers, which would save a franchise up to $90,000 per year. So in case you’re worried that such robots would be stealing humans’ jobs, the co-founder of the company promises us that they will. As Alexandros Vardakostas stated, “Our device isn’t meant to make employees more efficient. It’s meant to completely obviate them.” Wow. Can you beat around the bush at least a little bit, Alexandros?
So how does this burger-flipping machine actually work? According to Momentum Machines’s website, their “alpha machine” can do “everything employees can do except better.” I don’t care WHAT kind of magic software these machines are running; I just do not care for their cocky attitude. But anyway, the machine can ”slice toppings like tomatoes and pickles immediately before it places the slice onto your burger, giving you the freshest burger possible,” as well as create custom meat grinds, like a patty made from part pork and part bison.
Despite their statements on the machine effectively eliminating cook jobs, the company claims that their product will actually increase employment, in three ways. First, 1. the company that makes the robots must hire new employees. Um, sure, but I’m not sure how much crossover there is between fast food line cooks and robot engineers. Second, they say the “restaurant that uses our robots can expand their frontiers of production which requires hiring more people.” What does this sentence even mean??? I don’t think they actually know. And lastly, “the general public saves money on the reduced cost of our burgers. This saved money can then be spent on the rest of the economy.” Okay, but this still doesn’t solve the problem of fast food workers losing their jobs.
I’m all for the advancement of society or whatever, but there’s something sad about machines replacing the handiwork of humans. I’m not saying that flipping burgers at McDonald’s is an artform, but fast food burger-bots are just the beginning. If this machine can truly cook as well or better than a human, and for less than it costs to pay a human, then it’s only a matter of time before corporations start mass replacement. And it won’t stop at cooking. You heard it here first, THE SINGULARITY IS NIGH!