In a few years time, it may not be a teenager working his first summer job handing you that burger at McDonalds. It might be a robot.
Developed by Momentum Machines, this burger making robot is isn’t meant to make employees more efficient. “It’s meant to completely obviate them,” says co-founder Alexandros Vardakostas. Ingredients are stored in automated container, and they move along a line where the robot chars, slices, dices, and then assembles the freshly made burger. Nothing is pre-prepared, leading to a better tasting burger.
The robot also has the benefit of improving consistency and sanitation, as a human never touches the ingredients (other than loading them into the automated containers). With the ability to make a burger in only 10 seconds (that’s 360/hr), it allows customer to be served quicker than they would at a fast food restaurant. And without the restaurant having to spend money on paying humans to assemble the burgers, the savings would be spent on better ingredients for the burgers. You’d get gourmet burgers at fast food prices, while only taking 10 seconds to get to the hands of the customer.
While the savings for the company would be huge, the machine (and machines like it) could also possibly replace the 3.6 million US fast food jobs. In reality, we may be approaching a point in time where robots also will automate industries such as transport, customer service, and maintenance. In a recent PEW Survey, some 1900 technology experts agreed that robots would be part of our daily lives by 2025. However, 52% believe that AI and robotics will have a positive effect on employment (albeit with different skill sets), while 48% beleive it will have the opposite effect.
That said, the 20th century began with the majority of peoples being farmers or factory workers. We now only see roughly 2% of the workforce occupying those roles. But what do you think? Will robots replace us, or will we simply transition to new work types as we have in the past?
Image: Momentum Machines