$15 an Hour? How About "You're Fired"?

Carl's Jr. has a plan: automated machines to take your order, and a ten percent discount for using them.

Taco Bell had automated ordering kiosks at the 1996 Olympics. They were awesome, actually, because your order was never wrong. They were simple to operate touch-screens, and you could customize your orders to do all sorts of things without worrying about trying to explain what you wanted to a deaf 16-year-old. Since much of Taco Bell's menu is just different ways of putting together the same basic ingredients, the customization aspect worked very well.

I remember that I was very sad when they removed the kiosks after the Games were over. They represented a real improvement on the Taco Bell experience.

Automation is going to make most human labor obsolete.


Texan99 said...

Most dispirited, incompetent human labor. I'd still patronize a restaurant or store with human employees if they added value. I shop a lot online, for instance, but I'll pay a premium for products from online stores with good telephone help: clerks who can solve a problem and know the merchandise. And there really are still such places.

Tom said...

Whose going to buy automated things when none of us have jobs? Are they going to have robot customers, too?

Eric said...

Well, there's a lot of under educated (maybe mis-educated) people that are going to be hurting. But there will still be things that need to be done.

E Hines said...

Increasing automation has always destroyed jobs. And created them. Today's doomsayers are just as wrong.

Eric Hines

David Foster said...

I am not sure that today's automation is anything more than a continuation of a long-term trend, rather than being any kind of sharp breakpoint. The Spinning Jenny and the power loom replaced human weavers. Radio, record players, and sound films put thousands of local bands out of business. Automatic elevators replaced at least 500,000 human operators. Numerically-controlled machine tools, circa 1970s, replaced large numbers of human machinists. Mainframe computers replaced huge clerical organizations in check sorting, insurance billing, etc. Then there are ATMs, supermarket scanners, etc.

Certainly, the labor-productivity statistics over the last few years don't support a case for a radical upward break in productivity.

MikeD said...

Won't someone please think of the horse buggy whip makers?