“Our device isn’t meant to make employees more efficient. It’s meant to completely obviate them.”
So says the co-founder of San Francisco startup Momentum Machines.
The company’s building a machine that will automate the production of gourmet-quality hamburgers.
It’ll shape the burgers and grill them to order, with just the right amount of char and juiciness. (It’ll also toast the bun and slice lettuce, tomato, and pickles—and it’ll add all the condiments to order.)
It’s capable of producing 360 burgers per hour. That’s one burger every 10 seconds…
The owners reckon their device will pay for itself in less than a year. They plan to target not just restaurants, but convenience stores, food trucks, and vending machines, as well.
By eliminating labor costs and reducing space in the kitchen, restaurants will be able to offer gourmet burgers at fast-food prices.
Humans are becoming less important in the economy and are getting paid less for their efforts. Why?
Technology. Machines are replacing humans in all kinds of new areas. And the trend is about to accelerate…
The next decade is going to see an explosion in service-sector automation. Millions of jobs are going to disappear, like those in the fast-food industry…
Take McDonald’s, for example. The fast-food giant employs 1.8 million workers around the world.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states food preparation and food service workers will be one of the largest employment sectors in the economy for the next six years. (This does not include waiters and waitresses in full-service restaurants.)
But in 2011, McDonald’s began installing touch-screen ordering in 7,000 European restaurants. The author of Rise of the Robots predicts a typical fast-food restaurant will be able to cut its workforce by 50% thanks to automation.
That’s a massive hit to one of the largest employment sectors in the economy.
The other major concentration of low-wage retail jobs is in the general retail sector.
Online suppliers will continue to wipe out brick-and-mortar retailers. We’ll see explosive growth in vending machines and kiosks. And we’ll see more robots roaming the aisles in stores, scanning inventory, and moving boxes around.
The “cloud” trend is huge, too. Robots can employ central machine intelligence stored in the cloud—on high-powered remote computer servers connected through the Internet.
This makes it easy to scale machine learning across large numbers of robots. It also makes it easy for robots to employ extremely powerful software.
Take IBM’s supercomputer, “Watson,” for example. It beat its human competitors on the game show Jeopardy!
Watson’s now hosted in the cloud. That means software developers can link directly to Watson and harness its revolutionary cognitive power in robots and mobile apps. (The latest version of Watson is already twice as powerful as the version that won Jeopardy!)
The cloud enables an unlimited number of Watsons, available at the touch of a button. And that equates to far less need for humans.
Bottom line: Corporations stand to benefit a great deal from increased automation. But the average American laborer is set to suffer… as will America’s overall economic growth.
It’s another reason the dollar’s strength will continue to rise… something most investors are totally unprepared for today.
Reeves’ Note: Tom shot an urgent video update on his cellphone. In it, he tells you how to avoid being caught off guard from a rising dollar, and its resulting economic fallout. He also shares exactly what he’s doing to prepare, and the safest place to put your money today. Click here (or the image below) to watch it now.