Skip to comments.It's Different This Time: Humans Need Not Apply
Posted on 08/17/2014 4:32:19 PM PDT by Kaslin
On August 7, I wrote about "McCashier" Your $15.00 Per Hour McDonald's Worker Replacement.
Sure. You can make $15 an hour at McDonald's, at least in Seattle. You just have to perform better than this machine.
Many commented along the lines of "What's the big deal? It's only a cashier. There are more cooking jobs that cannot be replaced."
For example reader Chris commented ...
A McDonalds worker isn't a "cashier." The person who works the front end doesn't just take orders and money. The person who works up front also fills drinks for drive thru. They clean the restrooms and dining areas. They help assemble food if needed(dropping fries.) Does the machine do all those things? If it doesn't then it isn't really replacing anything or more cost effective then a person. There is usually 2-3 people in the back assembling food and 2 people up front taking orders, handling money, assembling trays with ordered food, preparing drinks for drive thru, etc., etc. You could get the kiosk and the stupid burger machine and still have more than enough work for those 5 people.
Really? What about robot cooks, robot greeters, and even robot waiters?
Robot Cooks, Greeters, Waiters
The Times of India reports Robots Greet, Cook and Deliver Dishes at this Restaurant in China.
It's more teatime than Terminator a restaurant in China is electrifying customers by using more than a dozen robots to cook and deliver food. Mechanical staff greet customers, deliver dishes to tables and even stir-fry meat and vegetables at the eatery in Kunshan, which opened last week.
"My daughter asked me to invent a robot because she doesn't like doing housework," the restaurant's founder Song Yugang told AFP.
Two robots are stationed by the door to cheerfully greet customers, while four short but humanoid machines carry trays of food to the tables.
In the kitchen, two large blue robots with glowing red eyes specialize in frying, while another is dedicated to making dumplings.
Song told the local Modern Times newspaper that each robot costs around 40,000 yuan ($6,500) roughly equal to the annual salary of a human employee.
"The robots can understand 40 everyday sentences. They can't get sick or ask for vacation. After charging up for two hours they can work for five hours," he added.
A restaurant in China is electrifying customers by using more than a dozen robots to cook and deliver food. (AFP Photo)
This photo taken on August 13, 2014, shows a robot cooking vegetables in a kitchen of a restaurant in Kunshan. (AFP Photo)
Humans Need Not Apply
Many people sent me a link to Humans Need Not Apply.
The 15 minute video is well done and very thought provoking. It's well worth your time to play it.
Is It Different This Time?
The gist of the video is that "It's Different This Time", that no matter what your job is, your job is in jeopardy.
I have stated that over the long haul, technology creates jobs, but there are periods of creative destruction where the opposite happens. For example: How many millions of jobs did the internet revolution create? Did they all vanish?
No they did not vanish, and they all won't.
Yet, we are in a creative destruction phase where computers take jobs away. Will this change? I don't know the catalyst, but historically speaking, it always has.
What about the meantime? And for those who think the setup is permanent, the problem has even more severe implications.
Many readers have written this is why we need a "guaranteed income", not a guaranteed minimum "living wage". Let's quickly dispense with such nonsense.
Pay people to do nothing and you promote doing nothing. Do we have enough energy resources to give everyone on the planet, a guaranteed "living income"?
The answer is no, we don't.
Reflections on Productivity
The natural state of affairs because of increased productivity over time is an increased standard of living, more free, time, and falling prices.
Productivity and technological breakthroughs are inherently price-deflationary.
Enter the Fed and central banks in general. Central banks are hell bent on producing 2% or more inflation in a deflationary world.
That is the source of the battle over "living wages".
The problem is money does not go far enough, rather than people do not make enough. Realistically, no one in their right mind should care if wages fall, if increased productivity makes prices fall faster.
But central banks do not want prices to fall. Nor do those who control the assets (the banks, the bureaucrats, and the already wealthy) want prices to fall.
So, with the Fed promoting inflation, bureaucrats promoting higher and higher minimum wages, and with the Fed holding interest rates artificially low, corporations have every incentive to replace workers with robots at a Fed-induced artificially high rate.
Two Possible Solutions
The solution is not higher minimum wages. The solution is not a tax on robots like Paul Krugman wants. The solution is not a guaranteed income.
The solution is to eliminate the Fed, eliminate fractional reserve lending, and give the free market a chance to create jobs at its own pace, without all this government and central bank interference.
The alternative "solution" and not one I support, is to kill off a lot of needless people by starting WWIII.
Robot hamburger factory makes 360 Gourmet Burgers every hour...
So the government (illegally) forces businesses to pay a higher minimum wage. Businesses then switch to robots.
Robots don’t get a salary. But robots don’t spend any money either, so, if this continues, there will be robots making hamburgers for other robots.
If McDonald’s pays its workers only $7 an hour, you have to pay the other $45,000 in welfare payments. That’s why McDonald’s is pressing hard to get citizenship for all the illegal aliens they hire. Until we get rid of the welfare state and illegal immigration, any conservative who opposes raising the minimum wage is a sucker.
No, but their owners do, and so do the people who make them. Ultimately, money always ends up in the pocket of a human being, who will spend it. The chain may get longer as some people are replaced by robots, but there's always a human at the end of it.
“The robots can understand 40 everyday sentences.”
If politically correct, that would mean 1 sentence translated into 40 different languages and dialects.
So, by your logic, the higher the better? Should the minimum wage be $50 an hour? $100 an hour?
>>Robots dont get a salary. But robots dont spend any money either, so, if this continues, there will be robots making hamburgers for other robots.<<
Only Bender (what ever happened to Bender ?)is qualified to comment on this...
If they dream of electric sheep they must eat lubeburgers...
Robots are depreciable assets—another advantage over flesh and blood employees.
>>The robots can understand 40 everyday sentences.
If politically correct, that would mean 1 sentence translated into 40 different languages and dialects<<
Or merely exceeds the average liberal’s ability to understand.
>>Robots are depreciable assetsanother advantage over flesh and blood employees.<<
You never met my ex-wife.
Just stop paying people not to work.
IOW, when the minimum wage goes up, most of it is "taxed" away (mainly by reduced subsidies). dangus has an interesting take on things -- but, essentially, he's right.
Right there they have a big advantage over a good segment of America's Moocher demographic.
“so, if this continues, there will be robots making hamburgers for other robots.”
I see people in fast food restaurants with EBT cards. Most have a sign saying they take them. So, no jobs, but plenty of welfare. That makes government happy.
I can almost guarantee this is the goal of Agenda 21. The elites want to reduce the world population down to somewhere between 500 million to 2 billion people.
But not necessarily by WWIII. No, the preferred means is to crowd as many as possible into the cities like cattle, unleash some kind of pathogen that quickly gets out of control. Then cut off the water supply and electricity.
Ain't that right, Bill and Melinda?
TV was the perfect medium for that particular message. Not than I'm a Luddite, it's just that "Luddite Thinking" drives people to eliminate the "middle man".
“But robots dont spend any money either...”
But the people that design and build and repair robots do.
The bigger concern is the competitive effects of raising the minimum wage. If anything, it should be removed entirely.