[ExI] Watch robots make pizzas from start to finish at an automated pizzeria

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Wed Aug 4 16:10:49 UTC 2021



…> On Behalf Of John Grigg via extropy-chat
Subject: [ExI] Watch robots make pizzas from start to finish at an automated pizzeria


>…I remember the discussion we had here about fast food restaurant automation, and how it was the holy grail of that industry. Spike, what do you think?









Hi John thanks.


I heard of Zume Pizza but never did go over there to check it out.  The pizza machine can make pizzas faster than customers can order them, which suggests one’s capital is better spent by making the pizzas as fast as the machine can go, then wrapping them, putting them into a freezer and selling them to grocery chains or as bake-at-home, which is what they eventually did (that’s what I heard, never followed up on it.)


Regarding robots making fast food items: that problem isn’t all that difficult to solve from the robotics POV.  It isn’t nearly as hard as self-driving cars and plenty of the medical robot stuff that has been solved.  The design pressure in fast food robots is toward minimizing capital costs and maintenance costs, rather than maximizing reliability.


The covid shutdowns have forced upon us some realizations that plenty of us knew about but tried to ignore.  Recall John about 20 yrs ago when Bill Joy published the article in Wired called “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us” and the stir it created at the time.  Well… two decades have passed, and he was right on with so much in that article.  It is time to review that from our perspective, as well as Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near.


Before I say more on either of those, do let us recognize that we damn well can automate most low-end jobs, even while we still need to employ low-end people.  Restaurant cooks were traditional ways to do that, but since covid I noticed something interesting.  There was continued demand for someone else to fix food, and do it quickly.  Fast food places with drive-thru windows prospered the whole time.


Look what happened: the most popular fast food places discovered their business model not only works fine with drive-thru only, it works better than paying proles to keep a dining room clean.  If people are working the kitchen, out of sight, you don’t need to hire the young and handsome, anyone will do.  They don’t need to be nice, hell they don’t even need to be non-felons.  You can hire paroled rapists and murderers to run a machine, and they are cheaper than non-felons.  What is he going to do?  Run off with a fry cooker on his back?


One of my favorites, Chick-fil-a, figured out how to run a two-lane drive thru with no dining room, and they are prospering.  Restaurants are allowed to open in this county, but plenty of the drive-thru places have quietly opted to not.  


Apologies John, I realized I wandered far from your original comment on robots making pizza, but how hard is it to visualize ordering from a kiosk which is speech-recognition-enabled, the food being made by machines entirely, and handed out a window by a robot arm?  That food is likely cleaner and safer than food prepared by desperately poor human paroled murders and rapists, because there are few if any bio-units present in the kitchen.


Well then, OK.  Bill Joy was right: the future really doesn’t need us.



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