McBots Take a Step Forward in Fast Food Robotics

Fun robot

Greg Creed, CEO of fast food behemoth Yum! Foods, reckons that robots will take over fast food joints within the next decade.

Fast food is in many ways the perfect industry for automation. These jobs have been the focus of activism to increase the minimum wage. It’s been going on long enough, and with enough success, that employers have seen evidence that raising wages doesn’t increase productivity in this field or make the jobs more desirable. Human fast food workers are just becoming more expensive, not better.

It’s not a very satisfying job, when you get right down to it. Working with deep-frying can be dangerous, and customers want the work to be fast and consistent. That set of factors makes it perfect for a robot. So McDonald’s is bringing in robots to fry chicken McNuggets and take orders.

Frying food seems an obvious candidate for automation, but order-taking might require some salesmanship — right? Wrong. McDonald’s has discovered that people order more food when it’s just them and the robot. The presence of a human being seems to be inhibiting.

At one point, there were claims that a Phoenix McDonald’s would open up this month with a staff of robots and just a few people to provide quality control.

We saw these paragraphs and got suspicious:

36-year-old Paul Horner, a spokesman for McDonalds told reporters that because of the demand for a $15/hr minimum wage, the company has been playing with the idea of a restaurant run entirely by robots for years and believes their McRobots are the answer.

“With the high demand for a wage of $15/hr and the protests getting worse every day, this is something we had to implement. Plus with the tremendous margin of human error, poor hygiene, lack of education, laziness, as well as the recent advancements in artificial intelligence it just make sense to automate our restaurants now rather than later.”

We just don’t see McDonald’s making a public announcement that human workers are just too lazy and dirty to compete with robots. Plus, the punctuation errors tipped us off.

Sure enough, Snopes says this is a lie, or at least a joke perpetrated by robot reporters.

McDonald’s is, however, working to increase automation.

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