Hamburger-making machine churns out custom burgers at industrial speeds
Hamburgers are a multi-billion dollar business, and while fast food chains have got the process down to an efficient production line process, making them is still labor intensive with armies of burger flippers and sandwich assemblers. In a move that could put millions of teenagers around the world out of their first job, Momentum Machines is creating a hamburger-making machine that churns out made-to-order burgers at industrial speeds and aims to use it in its own chain of restaurants.
According to Momentum Machines, making burgers costs US$9 billion a year in wages in the United States alone. The company points out that a machine that could make burgers with minimum human intervention would not only provide huge savings in labor costs, but would also reduce preparation space with a burger kitchen replaced by a much smaller and cheaper stainless-steel box.
This self-contained, automatic device sees raw ingredients go in one end and the completed custom-made burgers come out the other at the rate of up to 400 per hour. The machine stamps out the patties, uses what the company says are "gourmet cooking techniques never before used in a fast food restaurant,” applies the toppings (which are cut only after ordering to ensure freshness), and even bags the burgers.
The company plans to open its first restaurant in the near future and to market the machines to third parties, arguing that one can pay pay for itself inside of a year. The company is targeting restaurants, convenience stores, food trucks and vending machine applications. In the meantime, the device is still undergoing development with a feature to allow for custom-ground and mixed beef to be included in the next generation.
Source: Momentum Machines via Foodbeast
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Although flipping burgers isn't the greatest job, it has given countless tens of thousands of people money to get by.
Like many cool future technologies/innovations, this will put more people out of a job (like the article said), but at least it will employ "some" of those people to build the machines, and fix them when they break.
The biggest threat to jobs I think would be 3D printing, imagine a world where almost anything you want, would be printed at your own home. Whether that be a part to fix your truck, or a burger & a milkshake.
I think the job market will look vastly different 50 years from now, with various machines, robots, and 3D printers, I question what will future people do...
Its all very well having machines to 'liberate humans from Labour', but here's the problem.
Without jobs people do not earn, so do not have the money to spend on relatively expensive luxuries like fast food. Whilst, as has already been stated, working in a burger bar isn't exactly the most rewarding of pursuits, it is very often the first experience that many teens have of the world of work, and so provides useful experience.
Apart from that, it is good to have some kind of human involvement in the purchase of food- especially in this modern world where there is so much less one-to-one human interaction, with so many ways to shut fellow humans out of one's attention with mobile devices, social media (which may be enabling on one level but which is mostly done remotely from other humans). Kids don't seem to play out on the streets anymore and are ferried from place to place by parents as they are locked into their own personal media- such as DVD displays built in the back of the headrests so children don't have to look out the windows at the world around them. Replacing burger making with a glorified vending machine is one more step towards the slippery slope that we are on in removing our fellow humans from everyday interactions.
Brave new world? The Developed World is fast turning into a dystopean de-humanised zone that was once the stuff of science fiction.
I don't want fries with that, thank you very much.
We are at a tipping point, though - the old rule of "don't worry, the folks replaced by this technology will find jobs we can't imagine today" will no longer be true. Yes, there will be jobs we cannot imagine in 10 years time, but they will require high levels of skill/education/intelligence which the majority of folks will not have.
So the real question is - how to change society in such a way that labor for income no longer takes center stage in life? You sci-fi fans ought to ponder the world of, say, Star Trek - at a time when you can walk up to a vending machine and ask for "Earl Grey Tea, hot" or for that matter "Rolex Seamaster Professional" and get what you ask for, the notion of jobs as we have always known them will evaporate.
Perhaps people will "do their time" in those jobs that cannot be automated (police, medicine, whatever) but after their 5 year stint will be allowed to "go forth and self-realize" - write poetry, explore the stars, sit back and get stoned, anything. And some will want to invent/discover/learn new things as well.
But the really big question is - how will we get from here (capitalism: rewards for building a better mousetrap) to there? The authors of "Race Against the Machine" (which talks about this) have some solutions that, to me, ain't gonna work.
Kiss all those minimum wage jobs good-bye... better start learning robot repair :)