Rage against the burger maker
The Verge has an in-depth look
at the burger-making robots that are the main attraction at San Francisco restaurant, Creator. The piece offers a balanced approach to the idea that these machines will replace human jobs, but there’s no escaping the fact that ‘burger bots’ are a very real frontline face of automation.
Optimists love to say that automation is nothing new, and that it only ever offers new opportunities for humans by giving us new roles. ATMs didn’t make human bank staff irrelevant, they say. ('No, but the internet did help lead to lots of bank branches closing,’ is a worthwhile riposte at that point, BTW).
Indeed, Creator still has humans on hand to take side orders and ensure the machines are working correctly. Having a 'human touch’ is still important, and may well be a premium offering in the future.
But technological progress accelerates ever onwards, and the coming wave of automation may happen so fast that we can’t find enough jobs to replace those it devours. And what happens then?
When we talk about automation taking jobs, it’s often in the context if artificial intelligence – 'invisible’ software replacing existing human roles. Burger-making robots show that, if automation causes significant unemployment, there will be plenty of real machines to rage against.