It was almost a right of passage for millions of young people in high school and college that your first job was one flipping burgers. It was also a fall back job later in life if your career as a photographer, musician or artist was a little slow getting off the ground and you needed to supplement your income.
In Asian countries the equivalent would be a noodle peeler, someone who shaves noodles from a larger piece of dough and drops them in boiling water. Now it seems that both noodle peelers and burger flippers have something in common besides low wages: Robots are coming to take your jobs away.
The robot noodle shaver was invented by Chinese restaurateur Cui Runguan and looks a little like a Power Ranger without legs. You can get your own noodle shaving overlord for a cost of around $1,600 (USD) and the angry looking noodlebots are rolling out of the factory by the thousands. Over 3,000 restaurants are now saying domo arigato to Mr. Roboto in Chinese.
Robot noodle maker in operation.
When it comes to burgers the robot revolution is a little closer to home. A company called Momentum Machines in San Francisco is fielding a robotic burger maker than can spew out 360 burgers an hour, all custom made to the customer’s specifications, including custom blends of different types of ground meat. It slices tomatoes and pickles on the fly but no word yet if the machine is capable of connecting to Skynet.
Another robot designed to assist sushi makers can crank out those little rice balls by the thousands, leaving the more important tasks to an actual sushi chef.
Like the sushibot many machines are only there to assist humans with some of the more repetitive tasks and that can reduce stress on the human component of the equation. The HAMDAS-R, a robot made by Japanese company Mayekawa, is a machine that debones hams using a mechanical knife guided by x-ray images. There’s a plot for a future horror movie in there somewhere.
Anyway you automatically slice it, robots are coming for your entry level job. I had always assumed that robots would have done away with almost every low-skill repetitive job by now, but not quite. We got cheated out of flying cars but it appears the robot revolution will continue replacing mere humans.
While resistance is futile the good news is even the burger making machine will need someone to clean it once in awhile.