Yes, Another Story About Food Robots

The Lempert Report
November 07, 2019

Over the next decade, automation and artificial intelligence could throw 54 million Americans out of work.

McDonald’s is replacing drive-thru workers with order-taking AI, and cashiers with self-checkout kiosks. Walmart is automating truck unloading, while California farms are employing robots to harvest lettuce. 

Lets take a look back to look ahead. From 1990 to 2007, robots replaced about 670,000 U.S. jobs, mostly in manufacturing; every robot introduced into a local economy claimed 6.2 jobs.

Oxford University researchers concluded in a major 2013 study that 47 percent of American jobs are at “high risk” of automation within two decades. McKinsey Global Institute came to a similar conclusion in 2017, warning that by 2030 robots will have forced 16 million to 54 million Americans—as many as a third of U.S. workers—to retrain for a new job.

Let’s talk food: restaurants in China have already begun replacing servers with robots. At least 91 percent of a short-order cook’s tasks can be automated using existing technology.  

What we see here in the US is that robots do have a place – but mostly behind the screens…people and robots – we are just not ready yet.