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Germs or Jobs?

Those of you who have had a chance to take a look at my new novel, The Piketty Problem, or The Robots Are Coming, The Robots Are Coming, know that its underlying theme is the impending impact of robotics on fast food in general and McDonald’s in particular. For those of you who might think I was stretching novelistic license, I thought this recent article about Chowbotics (now that’s a stretch!) in the New York Times might be of interest. The company has come up with a salad-making robot that allows diners to design their own salads, and then drops the veggies into a bowl in less than a minute. The benefit? No germs for customers, fewer pesky and expensive employees (despite minimum wage salaries) for restaurant owners.

In my opinion, Chowbotics should team up with Flippy, the burger-making robot from Miso Robotics, that’s currently being tested by Caliburger in Pasadena, California (where else?), to provide a fully satisfying and machine-friendly fast food experience.

It’s no joke. No less an authority than McKinsey has weighed in that 70% of current fast food jobs could be automated with current technology. If robots are coming to fast food, imagine where else they’re headed? This is no longer a factory-floor issue. We already know about self-driving cars, so self-driving trucks are a logical extension. So is warehousing, and legal and medical assistance, and data handling of all kinds. McKinsey’s list goes on and on.

I mean, if robots are coming to fast food, counter-intuitive as it might be, where are they not coming? And where are bread-winner jobs going?

For a more entertaining take on this serious problem, check out The Piketty Problem, or The Robots Are Coming, The Robots Are Coming.
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