Meet Your New Robot Workmate: Flippy, the Burger-Cooker

Don't fear automation. It's what makes us human - and richer, too.


Automation is our friend. It allows humans to accomplish much much more with less effort. It is the main reason we live longer, get fatter, and have mots of stuff. And existential crises.

Remember that as we get more and more worried about robots taking jobs.

Unlike teenage fast-food workers, Flippy doesn't get pimples or cop an attitude. And after the shock wears off, realize that he (she?) will free our kids up to do more valuable things with their time and lives.

Back in 2008, Reason TV and Drew Carey meditated on "Mexicans and Machines" as the two biggest threats to American prosperity. Both fears were and are wildly overstated. Take a watch:

Reason on Robots.

NEXT: House Republicans' Obamacare Replacement Plan Is a Disaster. Here's Why.

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  1. – Brace Yourself –
    Luddites are coming

    1. They took our jobs

      1. That would be ironic

  2. free our kids up to do more valuable things with their time and lives.

    If only…

      1. Again?

        1. Yes. We will play some video games and show hog.

          1. Show Hog was my nickname in college.

          2. Alright, but I get to pick the games this time.

              1. Let’s just say that the gaming experience is… different… when Crusty is involved.

                1. “I didn’t even know they MADE a new version of Custer’s Revenge for Playstation.”

                  1. Stage 1: Back of the pet store. Defeat crazy chinchilla roommate with flesh light. Proceed down the alley to the prostitute on the corner.

    1. They need that time to get gud.

  3. “Flippy the Burger Cooker” was my nickname in college.

  4. “I see that you’re trying to convince people that your easy-to-replicate skills are worth more and more money per hour. Mind if I help with that?”

    1. Flip or flop?

  5. I see a big uptick in ‘Artist’ as job category.
    In the Future there is going to be so much ART!

      1. And they won’t become big-name pop stars either…

    1. Not if Der Drumph cancels all of the funding of the NEA. /sarc

      1. Big Bird must die [yes, I know he migrated to HBO, but he’s still iconic and serves as a useful image of government funding for propa–I mean art and broadcasting].

  6. Do you think robots will appreciate trees or flowers or a pretty sunset once they’ve eliminated humanity? Do you think they’ll care about climate change? Do you think think they’ll dream?

    1. Do you think think they’ll dream?

      Yes. Of electric sheep.

      1. Great. Now I am craving a lamb kabob.

    2. I kind of hope they destroy the environment while we all watch helplessly.

      Only for the simple pleasure of watching SJW shit their pants, cry, commit suicide, cower in fear, riot, and do nothing whatsoever to display a courageous spine, all at the same time.

      1. They pretty much do that every day as it is.

    3. Do you think robots will care enough about humans to eliminate them?

      1. They will continue not to care about anything as they have no will or emotions whatsoever. And they still can’t play chess!

      2. They will care as long as humans continue to be a roadblock to efficiency.

      3. I hope they at least eliminate Palin butt and Tony.
        That would be a fantastic start.

        Followed briefly thereafter by the entire public school system and all of Washington DC and Hollywood.

        That would be some terminator style electric hell I could get on board with.

  7. “will free our kids up to do more valuable things with their time and lives.”

    More valuable than preparing and serving food to others? That’s a pretty high bar you’re setting.

  8. “Nick Gillespie” was my nickname in middle school.

    1. I doubt that’s true.

      1. My name’s Mickey Jabari Gillespie. I had braces at the time.

  9. I wonder how all of those “fight for $15/hour” campaigns are doing right about now?

    1. Immigrants and women are the primo victim groups right now. There’s no air left for fast food workers.

  10. I welcome our new Robot Masters. Can’t be any worse than our old Robot Masters.

  11. One of these days, the Libertarian Chatbot will be perfected, and Gillespietron 3000 will produce a dozen articles filled with pop culture references from two decades ago for every one that Nick does.

  12. It looks neat and all, but somebodys still got to clean and maintain that thing.

    And are they at the point where it can handle 12 different items, say grilled chicken, salmon, tuna, different cuts of steak cooked to different temperatures? And does it prep all those items and keep the station clean? And does it mop the floor and take out the trash at the end of the night too?

    I guess what I’m getting at is that its one thing to make a robot that can flip a hamburger. But once you move up from fast food into the casual dining of places like say Applebees, where you might have 30 different items working off of one station, and 100 different ingredients that need prepped and maintained, there is a persistent stream of decisions that need to be made, and those decisions need constantly adjusted. The robots will need to be a lot smarter than Flippy to start replacing most restaurant cooks outside of McD’s.

    1. How did you get from “robots preparing fast food” to “robots in every restaurant all the time forever”?

      1. Probably by waiting a couple decades and hoping popular support for anticapitalism doesn’t hit a critical mass in the meantime?

    2. I suspect, but can not confirm, that cooks at actual restaurants make more than min. wage even while the servers make less than min. wage. This robot seems like a direct responce to the fight for 15 dolts, but really an automated cashier and order system is more realistic in that context. Higher wages mean lower employment generally speaking and specifically in this case.

      1. Cooks often make minimum wage or slightly above, depending on experience and the restaurant. Outside of managerial type positions such as Exec. Chef, Sous Chef, Kitchen Manager, etc., you’d have to look real hard to find a cook making twice minimum wage. Servers do make minimum wage, its against the law to pay them any less than that, but the business can take a ‘tip credit’ against their wage if the servers tips would likely cover that amount. In other words, if the current tip credit is 5.50/hr, a restaurant can pay servers a wage of 8/hr, but take credit for 5.50 of the tips the server receives and apply it as wages, and thus only pay a wage of 2.50, provided that the server actually does receive that much in tips. Otherwise the restaurant must make up any difference, but in no event can the restaurant not ensure that the server receives at least minimum wage. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in many different positions in restaurants of all types, and I have never ever once seen a server who earned less per hour than any cook aside from well paid chefs and sous chefs. Often they make more than the managers do all things considered.

        1. Good to know, and that makes sense since cooking food is something almost anyone can do for themselves. The time management portion while cooking for 20 people, probably not though. A common skill is usually what we’re talking about when referring to minimum wage since literally any dolt is theoretically able to learn it.

      2. That’s why some casual dining places (Chili’s for one) are already starting with on-table tablet-based ordering kiosks.

        1. This doesn’t make sense yet except in places that demand that severs make at or above min. wage. In Texas I believe servers hourly rate is 2.17 or thereabouts but there is no denying that food companies are preparing for what they’ll need to do to stay in business if the law changes.

    3. Expert systems are the easiest to automate.

    4. I robot can follow instructions on how long to nuke something.

      Ask your fast casual server if the food was frozen – the standard answer is “Some of our food is lightly chilled.” Meaning all the shit’s frozen.

    5. 30 different items working off of one station, and 100 different ingredients

      Just one choice in the future, “which color Soylent , sir?”

  13. he (she?) will free our kids up to do more valuable things with their time and lives.

    Yeah. More valuable things like demanding “safe spaces”, playing 10 hours a day of video games, and jerking off to porn on the disgusting, ratty old couch in mom’s basement into their thirties.

    1. Enough about your lifestyle, though.

    2. Yeah I wonder at that bit too. If people aren’t earning a wage, what exactly are they doing? In Nickworld, I presume they’re all learning to become Doctors. Realistically, they’ll probably be life-long liberal arts majors at best.

  14. Countless times before I have logged in, almost commented, but then stopped and told myself “let it go… it’s no big deal…”.

    But today is the day.

    Is it such a burden to proof-read your articles at least once before slamming down on the POST button?

  15. Is it just me, or does having a robotic arm cook burgers on a traditional griddle seem really inefficient, rather than something that moves the burgers through a cooker on a conveyor belt?

    1. Amusingly that is exactly how pizza’s are done…so yes that’s actually a brilliant point.

      1. It could be the inputs more than the cooking system, I guess. But I’ve always found pizza from a regular pizza oven tends to be better than stuff cooked on a conveyor belt oven.

        1. Agreed, but that’s usually because those working the oven fail to check them as they come out. I did a very brief stint during college as a pizza delivery driver, and my coworkers were almost entirely high-functioning autistics.

          Of course, the store was on the bad side of town so it was the worst of the worst employee’s. I quit when I got robbed at gunpoint, definately not worth it.

    2. Yeah. This is not the future of restaurant automation.

      That looks like some grad student’s robotics project, not a practical design for automation. It would be silly to make a robot to do exactly what human cooks are doing now when you could easily make one far more efficient.

  16. What made the election of 2016, and by extension governance in 2017, is that Mr. Trump’s understanding of economics is steeped in 1970’s era liberal thinking. His views on trade and H1B skilled immigration are ill-informed, retrograde, and will ultimately be disasterous for our economy and the nation. He embraces death spiraling entitlements and “stimulus” spending. His “Nationalist” perspectives will impede rather than enable growth and prosperity.

    I give Mr. Trump props for his promise to dismantle the federal regulatory leviathan and for tax reform. But those are not enough

  17. Let’s hope all the robots are heche en Mexico

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