How long before Automated Macdonald's

Discussion in 'Science' started by sonick_25, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. clonex

    clonex Member

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    what the kids movie where civilizations last hope all end up fat and cant even walk on a space ship that was sent it to space.

    how long before that?
     
  2. CAPT-Irrelevant

    CAPT-Irrelevant Member

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    Is this the future you're speaking of?

     
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  3. chewbacca

    chewbacca Member

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    Sounds like WALL·E

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0910970/
     
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  4. clonex

    clonex Member

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    yep thats it:thumbup:
     
  5. Sunder

    Sunder Member

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    There's one in Macquarie Centre. You can order from a tablet PC at the counter, and the food is delivered literally - on a model train that comes to your booth and beeps until you take the food off.

    The place always has a wait time if you arrive between 11:45am ish to 1pm, so it's already pretty popular.

    There is literally only one cashier who also looks after seating, and two chefs. You don't see anyone otherwise.
     
  6. MR CHILLED

    MR CHILLED D'oh!

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    But still prepared by a human.

    At least with automated creation they don't have to worry about keeping them fresh :D
     
  7. Phalanx

    Phalanx Member

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    One of the key things with automation is the repetitive nature. Ordering is repetitive, it's literally taking a human's commands and converting it to an order, absolutely designed for automation.

    The problem with cooking is that McDonalds can change the entire process. It's not just switching out a sauce, it can be an entirely new way of cooking something. A chicken big mac needs to have the chicken deep fried then put into the burger instead of beef - you need to dream up a new set of machines to do that. Or you just tell Timmy to do it in a 10 minutes training session on a Monday.

    Although about 10 years ago in Canada there were automated drinks machines at McDonalds. The second a drink order goes in the coke machine fills it up and it slides along the small conveyor belt to the next one. No idea why I've never seen them here, possibly because it's still something staff can do while they wait for other things.

    Anything that involves brainpower (i.e translating a customer order into a system) will be replaced with a computer. Anything that's physical (dropping a pickle onto a burger) will likely be a human for a couple of decades still to come.
     
  8. Sunder

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    Hey? You lost me there. If they wanted to make a Chicken Big Mac for example, Timmy the programmer copies the code for frying the McChicken patty, and pastes it over the code for frying two all beef patties.

    He then pushes it out over the air, and it's available for all 37,855 MacDonalds in the world in seconds. Beats training all 210,000 Timmies for 10 minutes on Monday. (Actually that seems low for me, as that would make it 6 employees per store, but its the number pulled from their Wikipedia page. It may exclude staff employed by Franchisees)
     
  9. Phalanx

    Phalanx Member

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    The problem is the beef patties aren't fried, they're grilled ;). It goes in the deep frier, comes out, goes on the burger (or more likely to the warmer). A beef burger goes on the grill. So you need two different machines to replace one human just for that one small change.

    It's not a great example as those chicken patties already go into burgers anyway, but the point is that it's not always a code change, it's a machine change for a new product, and that's where it gets really expensive. McDonalds can't even build a softserve machine that isn't broken 90% of the time, but if they launch a new product it could involve installing machines in 37,855 stores across the world.

    No robot has the flexibility of a human, not yet.
     
  10. Rhimes

    Rhimes Member

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    Agreed - I won't be a single robot replacing the humans - each workstation will have it's own unique automation. Sunder's right though - a engineer/programming team only has to design the automation once, and software updates are a cinch. For implementation, all it takes is that the cost of designing, building, updating and maintaining the machine is significantly cheaper than the labour, and it'll eventually get implemented.
     
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  11. adamsleath

    adamsleath Member

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    https://www.cnbc.com/video/2018/07/01/creators-new-autonomous-robot-makes-a-burger-in-5-minutes.html

    make machine. service machine. clean machine, fill machine.

    but the menu of the linked place is very limited. you'd need quite a complex series of machines to prepare and dispense the entire maccas menu.

    go ahead. make my burger. and fries and mcbreakfast, etc.
    ====

    i just want emotionless simulants with a 4 year lifespan. genetically engineered human slaves. specialised in various fields to serve customers....o wait. :Paranoid: modern industrialisation 101. Division of Labour.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_international_division_of_labour

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/07/world-without-work/395294/

    some people like menial, low stress, minimum wage jobs. for some period of time anyway.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2019
  12. Sunder

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    Sorry, conflating words. I worked at Maccas a long time ago. Even though they call it "grilled", it's really just shallow frying on a flat hot surface. A couple mm of fat, and the patties just sit there. I think of grilling as needing direct flame heating through a grill.

    It still doesn't change my argument, because if you needed a new robot to change from grilling/shallow frying to deep frying, then you could argue that you need to train 210,000 Timmies AND purchase a new deep fryer. So, to make the argument to "reductio ad absurdum", you could say "You can't reprogram a self driving car to flip burgers", but the equivalent is that you can't "train a taxi driver to make burgers with his car". But you can give both a taxi driver and a general purpose AI new equipment, and new training/coding.

    The key in automating anything, is whether you can break down the process into describable steps. If you can, it can be automated. It's the things we as human do subconsciously that is very difficult to program for. So can a robot build a bathroom in a lab? Dead easy, you give it plans, just as you would a plumber, and it would lay it exactly, and with better precision than a human. Can a robot fix an existing bathroom? Think about all the things a plumber has to do that he doesn't consciously "think" about. He has to navigate the toys left on the floor, he has to move unexpected items out of the way to get to the bit he wants. He has to figure out how everything has been laid out by the last plumber. Any robot can connect a pipe, but making these unconscious decisions which are hard to describe, is currently what AI finds difficult to do.

    And why preparing identical burgers in a controlled environment, is a lot easier than talking to the customer who wants half beef, half chicken, extra sauce, no pickles, served cold, and could you please leave it unwrapped, then navigate around people and items on the floor to deliver it to the customer.
     
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  13. Phalanx

    Phalanx Member

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    Never cracked an egg on an overheating car? :lol:

    There's more to it than that though. A deep fryer is a deep fryer, a grill is a grill. A human can be flexible with changes, McDonalds introduces a new 3 inch thick beef patty and the human can adjust immediately. But how flexible can you make the burger flipping robot? Does the weight matter? Can the wrapping machine wrap the thicker burger? It will come down to cost of labor vs machine, but it's not an equal race, currently humans have a flexibility a robot does not. It's why electronics in China are still built by humans, the labour is so cheap and the one human can build many different phones.

    You don't need to purchase a new deep fryer, but does the existing automated process to move the chicken burger to the big mac assembly line exist? Humans adjust to that naturally, 10 minutes training is probably overkill, but for a robot that's a serious issue.

    I have no doubt McDonalds will be automated, just wanted to highlight that there's greater complexity still for a robot than just rewriting code.

    Totally agree, which is why I highlighted the changing environment - the problem I'm talking about is not an AI problem, it's the cost of physical machines to do a thing. McDonalds makes minor tweaks to it's products all the time, and that rolls out into many different little changes. I have no doubt a robot that makes a big mac would make a far better big mac over and over again than a human ever could. It could even change that big mac far better than a human could. What it really struggles with is walking over to another part of the store to pick up an item that's not already within the burger, or be coded to go from flipping burgers to cooking bacon on the same grill. McDonalds can't stagnate their product line, so automating would be a huge risk that prevents them from introducing anything that the robot is not physically capable of.

    It still might be cheaper to roll out more machines, but for example right now McDonalds has churros and hot chocolate fudge. For a human, take the churros from the deep fryer and the fudge from the sundae spot, jobs done. How does a robot tackle that?
     
  14. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    Aren't they trying to? They've removed menus so customers have no clue what they've got on offer, except from memory, or the few on the pretty picture presented on the screen.
     

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