You Want $15 an Hour for Flipping Burgers? There’s an Ap for That

From Singularity Hub:

No longer will they say, “He’s going to end up flipping burgers.” Because now, robots are taking even these ignobly esteemed jobs. Alpha machine from Momentum Machines cooks up a tasty burger with all the fixins. And it does it with such quality and efficiency it’ll produce “gourmet quality burgers at fast food prices.”

With a conveyor belt-type system the burgers are freshly ground, shaped and grilled to the customer’s liking. And only when the burger’s finished cooking does Alpha slice the tomatoes and pickles and place them on the burger as fresh as can be. Finally, the machine wraps the burger up for serving.

And while you fret over how many people you invited to the barbecue, Alpha churns out a painless 360 hamburgers per hour…

Might need just one employee just to monitor the machine…and, hey, they can even pay him $20 an hour…still doesn’t work out too well for the 90% of fast food workers who will be laid off.  Careful what you demand people, you just might get what you ask for…

23 thoughts on “You Want $15 an Hour for Flipping Burgers? There’s an Ap for That

  1. bardolf2 August 12, 2013 / 2:01 pm

    What does the number 15 have to do with anything? The machine will replace burger flippers making $7 an hour just as easily. 15 vs. 7 merely means the machine will pay for itself in 6 months instead of 12.

    Now, when the $7.50 an hour burger flipper is replaced by a machine what do we tell her? When the taxi driver is replace in few decades by self-driving cars what do we tell him?

    When the Air Force pilot with years of training and a college degree can be replaced by an enlisted man with 6 months of training flying a drone what happens? Well, that doesn’t happen since the Air Force leadership consists of former pilots and protects itself from obsolescence.

    • Amazona August 12, 2013 / 2:09 pm

      Thanks for pointing out how easy it is to fly an Air Force fighter jet or bomber. Good to know it no longer takes nearly two years of full-time training, but can be done after only half a year with a remote control joystick.

      What happened to harness makers and feed bag manufacturers and wagon wheel makers when the auto replaced the horse? What happened to the telegraph when phones came into use? What did Sarah do when Andy no longer had to go through the switchboard to call Barney?

      My God, man, surely even you realize that job after job has become obsolete over the ages, without the world falling apart. As for the “what do we tell him/her?” whine, well, we tell him or her that if he or she doesn’t want to be replaced by a machine then he or she had better learn to build machines, or operate machines, or find an occupation that can’t be done by machines. What did we tell welders on assembly lines when robotic welders took over? ???????

      • M. Noonan August 12, 2013 / 2:23 pm


        Indeed – and all a demand for a $15 an hour minimum wage would do is accelerate automation.

      • bardolf2 August 12, 2013 / 3:07 pm

        When the drones replace pilots, but the traditional way to become an Air Force general is being a fighter pilot how do you decide who become the generals? It’s not me who has these insights, it’s policy makers.

        Sometimes the past is not an indication of the future. Today you can get bananas year around at the local grocery store. You can buy clothing from China for a pittance. You can replace whole classes of jobs in a decade, that isn’t a disruption ever we’ve witnessed.

      • neocon01 August 12, 2013 / 4:03 pm

        way early in my career I worked as a plumber, I very rapidly saw that glued PVC pipe requires a monkey and a can of glue, and one day soon a plumber would no longer worth his weight in gold. A that point I made a move to a similar but bullet proof trade.
        While in that trade I worked in the pneumatic control side of the business for a time, the advent of solid state electronics and computers were about make pneumatics the buggy whips of the 1990’s. You guessed it back to school (nights) got certificates in electronics, took a computer repair courses rebuilt-repaired (still do) my own, took basic, cobol, programming courses and of course basic PC understanding and Microsoft and DOS.
        YOU guessed out of a crew of 13 men ( I was the foreman) in two years were all gone and I changed positions to become principle/lead technician.

        $15.00 min wage is the mother of invention.

      • neocon01 August 12, 2013 / 4:06 pm

        Dr. B
        during the Viet Nam war a high school grad. could enlist for three years, attend flight school, (six months) become a warrant officer flying helicopters….we always called the jet pilots glorified bus drivers.

  2. dbschmidt August 13, 2013 / 9:07 pm

    Agggggh — it is Terminator time. Please, you appear to have very little knowledge about how the ranking system in all branches of the US military work–let alone about promotions and other internal matters so I would suggest to stop appearing the fool before it is confirmed (if it hasn’t been already).

    • bardolf2 August 14, 2013 / 12:18 am


      I have an idea how the ranking system works in the military thanks. But, and here is the beauty of technology, since I am a fool I provided a link

      If you follow the link, you’ll find such relevant (to my argument) information as:

      “In a 2008 speech, General Norton Schwarz, who served as AF chief from 2008 to 2012, did not mince words when he said that this systemic obsession with all-things manned has turned the Air Force’s swelling drone ranks into a “leper colony”.

      I’ll try to go slower with my argument. Machines will replace burger flipping in the near future, a little sooner if the minimum wage was moved to 15 bucks an hour and still relatively soon even if it stays at $7.50 an hour. Mark’s comment “Careful what you demand people, you just might get what you ask for…” could either be taken as a contempt for those asking for a doubling of the minimum wage or as a concern for people who might be pricing themselves out of a job. I took the comment to be genuine concern from Mark. I enlarged his concern for these poor, pointing out that things might be even worse, there might be large scale unemployment due to technological progress. Not a slow auto replaces horses kind of change. Not just in burger flipping. Changes in a whole host of industries. I am most concerned about the lowest in society and remarked further that when technology threatens jobs of elites like fighter pilots they seem to be able to stand up for themselves.

      I worry about my daughter’s generation and what jobs they will find. I don’t worry that university professors will disappear, I don’t worry about community activist jobs going away, I don’t worry that financial analysts will be be on the street. I worry about the manual jobs that made this country great. Not everyone wants or needs to get a higher degree to contribute to society, I think a discussion about how those people will do that in the face of technology is worthwhile.

      • neocon01 August 14, 2013 / 7:21 am

        Not everyone wants or needs to get a higher degree to contribute to society, I think a discussion about how those people will do that in the face of technology is worthwhile.

        some will clean houses, some will be trash haulers, some will be greeters at Wal Mart, some will bitch that they have MW jobs for the last 25 years while spending $10.00 a pack a day for cigs, $ 12.00 a day for beer, talk on their cells for hours at a time while watching oprah, and mon tel on their big screen TV’s.
        Others will say screw this work, two jobs, get training, schooling, what ever is needed to be a productive member of society.
        I have two nieces one the slug in the first senario, second divorced 5 kids,(all over 18) working part time, going to school full time, She will graduate an RN in the spring of 2014.
        Dont worry about other people bar, worry about you and your own family.

        here is an E-mail circulating………NOT my words but fitting for this topic and the question how do we change this mindset?.


        A black kid asks his mother, “Mama, what’s capitalism?”
        “Well, son, that’s when white folks work every day so we can get all our benefits, you knows, like free cell phones for each family member, rent subsidy, food stamps, WIC, free healthcare, utility subsidy, & the list goes on & on, you knows”.

        “But Mama, don’t the white people get pissed off about that?”
        “Sure they do, that’s called racism!”

      • J. R. Babcock (@JRBabcock) August 14, 2013 / 11:35 am

        I don’t worry that university professors will disappear

        Actually, you should. If there is any segment of the economy that’s pricing itself out of the reach of the average person, it’s higher education.

      • bardolf2 August 15, 2013 / 6:15 pm


        ITUNES University offers thousands of fantastic courses for free. If you want to learn physics from MIT no problem, go to your local library check out a text, put in the time and you can learn physics. Getting an inexpensive education is easy, what is driving up the costs getting university degree from a brand name university is a host of things unrelated to undergraduate education.

        If a student wants to go to a university with an expensive football team, big green lawns, faculty members who appear on the Cobert Show, the Blue man group performing on campus, an administration whose main job is fundraising … well those things cost according to the law of supply and demand and the supply is low. There can only be so many top 20 football teams, so many openings on the Colbert Show, so many people with deep financial connections etc. but there might be 100 teams paying coaching salaries to be in the top 20.

        Faculty have been around a long time and aren’t a group I feel sorry for or concerned for on average. They’ll make do somehow.

      • neocon01 August 16, 2013 / 8:28 am

        Faculty have been around a long time and aren’t a group I feel sorry for or concerned for on average. They’ll make do somehow.

        Trash haulers will always be with us…..

    • bardolf2 August 13, 2013 / 11:39 pm

      Nope, Bardolf the coward who is sentenced to death, in France in the play Henry V.

      • neocon01 August 14, 2013 / 7:08 am

        and all along I was thinking BAR- DORK… know ,the typical dork know it all at the local bar.
        silly me 🙂
        all along he is a con from montreal……WHO KNEW

      • The Return of Rathaven August 14, 2013 / 6:54 pm

        & the Merry Wives of Windsor.

        But yes, the “Patty-Flip 3000” will cost Deshawn, Manolo, Shaneequa and Kaylee their jobs, and they’ll be forced to stand on an unemployment line with Ambrose the Railroad Coal-Shoveler and Gertrude the Tollbooth collector.

        Society and the economy have been circling the drain ever since Eli Whitney invented that demonic cotton gin!

      • neocon01 August 15, 2013 / 7:30 am

        Damn that eli and his Gin I tells ya.

      • bardolf2 August 15, 2013 / 7:07 pm


        The cotton gin and associated huge developments in agriculture are relevant. They led to massive migration from to from the country to the city, from a country of 7% urban population to a country of 80% urban. But those urban dwellers aren’t all lawyers and doctors, they were mostly manual workers in factories or as burger flippers.

        Following your reference, where do all those people migrate to when all those jobs go away?

      • bardolf2 August 15, 2013 / 7:20 pm


        I’m following both your and rathaven’s idea and sending my daughter to the place that educated Eli Whitney.

      • percybeezer August 15, 2013 / 7:40 pm

        Whitney’s Cotton Gin marked the ostensible beginning of the American industrial revolution which followed the British industrial revolution by a few decades, if I remember my history classes correctly in the late late 18th Century to the early 19th.

        The standard of living, income and population exploded. Health, longevity and cleanliness all improved.

        The same thing happened in the middle of the 20th century, post-WWII; when “automation” was supposed to ruin our lives and destroy the West’s Working Class. What really happened was the post war economic boom culmination in the Affluent 60s.

        Point being that with each innovation and every labor-saving device more jobs have been created than destroyed.

      • The Return of Rathaven August 15, 2013 / 7:52 pm

        Bardolf, the growth in urban population from 7% to 80% has taken over 200 years. By the end of the Industrial Revolution the Urban Population had skyrocketed from 7% to ALMOST 10%!

      • neocon01 August 16, 2013 / 8:26 am

        Dr B.
        I’m following both your and rathaven’s idea and sending my daughter to the place that educated Eli Whitney.

        RN’s make $25.00 PH to start, and $50.00 PH with 8-10 Yrs experience in Fla. not bad. for a 2yr degree.

  3. neocon01 August 15, 2013 / 7:31 am


    & the Merry Wives of Windsor.

    are they that like the gay blades of the 1920″s?

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