Tag Archives: minimum wage

Will automation take away all our jobs?

Here’s a paradox you don’t hear much about: despite a century of creating machines to do our work for us, the proportion of adults in the US with a job has consistently gone up for the past 125 years. Why hasn’t human labor become redundant and our skills obsolete? 

Source: www.ted.com

In this talk about the future of work, economist David Autor addresses the question of why there are still so many jobs and comes up with a surprising, hopeful answer.

Why retail automation is finally revolutionizing quick service restaurants and what it means for jobs | ZDNet

Restaurants such as McDonald’s and Panera Bread are leading the charge toward automation in the quick-service food industry, which offers an important example of how the labor market is transforming.

Source: www.zdnet.com

Nice article by ZDNet. “The $15 per hour wage talks spooked a lot of fast food companies and forced them to look at ways to cut head count and augment labor costs,” said Frank Olea, CEO of Los Angeles-based kiosk manufacturer Olea Kiosks. “This technology has been available to restaurants for years, but price was high and labor was cheap. Now it’s getting to the spot where brands can see the ROI.”

Coffee Kiosk McDonald’s counters Fight for $15 with automation

Calls for a minimum-wage hike nationwide and in Illinois are increasingly met with businesses’ use of technology to cut costs.

Source: www.illinoispolicy.org

The Fight for $15 campaign plans to target McDonald’s on April 14 as part of a new pre-Tax Day tradition, led by the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU. 
 
Chicago is one of 300 cities worldwide where strikes and protests are scheduled. SEIU has spent $70 million on its Fight for $15 campaign. The union’s Local 73 represents more than 28,000 government workers in Illinois and Indiana.
 
Protestors may want to stop by the McDonald’s at Adams and Wells to meet their replacement – an automated McCafé kiosk.

The store, which is anticipating Chicago’s minimum-wage increase to $13 an hour by 2019, is testing out coffee kiosks in the restaurant instead of having employees serve it. The kiosk features a touch-pad for ordering and paying. The screen also prompts customers to answer questions about their kiosk experience, giving the impression this is something that could be adopted as an alternative to hiring. This kind of automation, which replaces a human employee with technology, is one of the unintended consequences of Chicago’s minimum-wage increase.

It may not just be a coffee machine either. Other McDonald’s locations have used self-service kiosks with touch-screens for paying. And while self-serve kiosks don’t seem too unusual, San Francisco-based Momentum Machines has created a robotic hamburger-making machine the company claims can produce 400 high-quality burgers in an hour with minimal human supervision.