"Flippy" The Burger-Flipping Robot Taken Offline After First Day

The Robot uprising has had a minor setback as a Pasadena burger joint was forced to take its brand new burger-flipping robot, "Flippy," offline after the first day due to slow performance, reports USA Today.

Except, it wasn't Flippy's fault.

The restaurant, Cali Burger, says that while Flippy held up its end of the deal - there weren't enough to prepare the patties fast enough prior to cooking, nor finish the burgers with all the fixings, according to Chief Technology Officer for the Cali Group. 

The robotic arms of "Flippy's Kitchen" is still on static display at Caliburger. The stage where patrons would normally line up for a peek was dark when USA TODAY visited Thursday, and there was little sign that Flippy would be coming back, but just when was "TBA" -- or to be announced. The restaurant was operating without the robot using its regular, human-run kitchen

Meanwhile, Flippy's "human helpers are also getting extra training to help the robot keep up with demand." In other words, the kids looking forward to that $15 / hour minimum wage in 2022 are learning how to dig their own graves more efficiently. 

Goodbye jobs

As automation and robotics steadily replace cashiers, cooks, assembly line workers, taxi drivers and all sorts of other vocations, low income workers are the first in line to feel the pain. 

Last November we reported on Walmart's new DARPA-funded autonomous cleaning robot, dubbed Emma; an A.I.-navigated system capable of operating floor care equipment on night shifts which can clean an entire store without human interaction.

"Emma" - test bedded in five Walmart locations, was developed by San Diego-based startup Brain Corp., which works with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop novel machine learning algorithms that focus on taking jobs from middle class Americans. BrainOS is the company’s flagship product that enables robots to “perceive their environments, control motion, and navigate using visual cues and landmarks, while seeing and avoiding people and obstacles”.

The machine resembles a traditional scrubber but comes equipped with similar technology used in self-driving cars: extensive cameras, sensors, algorithms and Lidar for navigational mapping. Think of it as a Roomba crossed with a Tesla. A human must first drive the device to train it on a path; it can then operate largely independently, including when a store is open to customers. If a person or object gets in its way, it momentarily pauses and adjusts course. -Linkedin

In San Francisco, a local startup called Café X is rolling out robots which will make all manner of beverages for all the unemployed baristas. Drinks can be ordered in advance through a smartphone app, or you can simply walk into a location and use a touch-screen kiosk. 

The robot—an arm, really—brings a cup to and from a machine that actually makes the coffee, or pulls cups of cold brew from a tap. When you enter a numerical code on a touch screen in front of the robot’s, er, cage, it places your drink on a platform so it can be lowered into a slot, kind of like a prize in a claw machine at an arcade. If you need help figuring out how to order, or finding a lid for your cup, there are also some human employees on hand (well, for now, at least). -technologyreview.com

And in China, shyrocketing wages have caused the rapid adoption of robot workers in manufacturing industries, cementing the country's position as a world leader in industrial automation. 

Japanese company Fanuc, as Bloomberg Businessweek reports, manufactures robots that can perform all manner of functions. From constructing complex motors to making injection-molded parts and electrical components. At pharmaceutical companies, Fanuc’s sorting robots categorize and package pills. At food-packaging facilities, they slice, squirt, and wrap edibles.


Indeed, all we're going to need in short order is flying cars and a robot maid before we're living in The Jetsons.

Universal Basic Income or Cheap Everything or Both?

While people like Elon Musk believe that automation will ultimately require a universal basic income (UBI), others have suggested that automation will reduce the cost of living so substantially that we'll be in a cashless "Star Trek" utopia where scarcity doesn't exist. 

There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better ... I want to be clear. These are not things I wish will happen; these are things I think probably will happen. -Elon Musk

New York businessman Andrew Yang - founder of Venture for America and 2020 presidential hopeful, has a simple philosophy: America needs to radically restructure its society to prevent robots from causing Great Depression-level unemployment...

...At the core of his philosophy is something called the "Freedom Dividend"...essentially a rebranded take on UBI....

To fend off the coming robots, Mr. Yang is pushing what he calls a “Freedom Dividend,” a monthly check for $1,000 that would be sent to every American from age 18 to 64, regardless of income or employment status. These payments, he says, would bring everyone in America up to approximately the poverty line, even if they were directly hit by automation. Medicare and Medicaid would be unaffected under Mr. Yang’s plan, but people receiving government benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program could choose to continue receiving those benefits, or take the $1,000 monthly payments instead. -NYT

According to Yang, major disruptions in society caused by robots are closer than  many Americans understand...

"All you need is self-driving cars to destabilize society," Mr. Yang, 43, said over lunch at a Thai restaurant in Manhattan last month, in his first interview about his campaign. In just a few years, he said, "we’re going to have a million truck drivers out of work who are 94 percent male, with an average level of education of high school or one year of college."

"That one innovation," he continued, "will be enough to create riots in the street. And we’re about to do the same thing to retail workers, call center workers, fast-food workers, insurance companies, accounting firms." -NYT

Perhaps it will be a combination of both in varying proportions; a basic, socialized, crappy McLifestyle for low skilled individuals, while those who specialize in jobs which robots haven't yet usurped will be able to upgrade to the bourgeoisie package. Kind of like today only with robot strippers and self-driving cars.

Or, perhaps after we've unleashed armies of robots throughout every tier of society, AI will deduce that human beings are cancer and we'll end up in battery pods - if we're not floating around in them already. 


swmnguy Gaius Frakkin'… Sun, 03/11/2018 - 11:13 Permalink

It probably took a lot more "smart" left coast soyboys to design the thing, and more to maintain it and fix it and keep it working; and think of all the "critical updates"; than it would take to just hire a zit-face kid with pot in his system to flip the fucking burgers.  And then the kid won't break into the burger joint and steal burgers, or at least just break the windows out of boredom.

In reply to by Gaius Frakkin'…

jin187 swmnguy Sun, 03/11/2018 - 12:52 Permalink

Once they get it to where it does its job better than a human, then it doesn't matter how much it costs to design and create what is essentially a prototype.  They'll start mass producing them, and early adopters will pay close to the 60k, with later adopters paying probably half or less.  Then all those people will have a slave purchased for the yearly salary of about 3-4 minimum wage scrubs, that takes no breaks, needs no days off, wants no benefits or raises, and is never otherwise delinquent or insubordinate.  Including the cost of maintenance, the robot's value purely from a wage savings standpoint probably pays for itself within 2 years max.  Meanwhile, the owner doesn't have to put up with humans anymore.  No more interviews, arguments, meetings, etc.  Maybe an hour each night to clean and lube the robots, and swim in your money bin like Scrooge McDuck.

Pretty much none of us will have jobs at that point, but that's ok.  We'll all be getting $1000 a month, so we'll be able to run over to the burger joint from our nearby trailer park homes, and get those now $0.25 hamburgers thanks to the fact the owner doesn't have to pay anyone.  Then we can all die of heart attacks by 45 due to our diet of purely fast food, and lack of motivation to ever get off our couch.  Those few that do get off their couches will fuck like rabbits, offsetting our diminished sperm counts.  It'll be just like Star Trek.

In reply to by swmnguy

ZeroSpam lloll Sun, 03/11/2018 - 22:07 Permalink

^^^   lloll  <<< CHRONIC  years-long SPAMMER     ^^^

His "disguised" links  (Hello CURSE) will take you to his Trojan- and Spam-laden "Whacked Out Biblicism" webpage.   He also posts as  "stizazz" and has been banned countless times for more than five years with countless log-ons.


Copy and paste the following text and send to abuse@zerohedge.com

"BAN and REMOVE spam accounts  "lloll"  and   "stizazz"   who are more log-ons from Spammers ZH has been banning for years (that's you, too,  dailywesterner)"

In reply to by lloll

Katos coaltar Sun, 03/11/2018 - 14:27 Permalink

Obviously you have limited contact with Mexicans, or your JUST a fucking RACIST assmonkey?? MEXICANS are some of the cleanest HARD working, diligent, intelligent workers out there. Why do you think people hire them! They're pleasant, loyal, always show up, on time, clean as a whistle and ready to work! Unlike a bunch of  lazy ASS white boys who can' seem to drag THIER ASSES OUT of bed without THIER mommies GIVING them a belly rub FIRST! After writing ALL this, I realize your ANOTHER lazy ASSHOLE who's on welfare, who pays around ALL day complaining about how "dem fukin Mescikans, don stol my job! YOUR TO FAT and to lazy to actually compete, so you lay around and bitch! What's DOUCHEBAG!

In reply to by coaltar

undertow1141 Katos Sun, 03/11/2018 - 16:39 Permalink

You've obviously never seen what your beloved cleanest Mexicans do to the porta-johns at construction job sites. They get hired because they don't dare question the shit wage they are offered and can be replaced with another illegal slave who works for peanuts ignorant fuck just like him/her if they do act up. 

In reply to by Katos

any_mouse swmnguy Sun, 03/11/2018 - 20:10 Permalink

Fix that by restoring the value of two parent families.

Dumping Rockefeller Foundation Education. A working Father and a Mother that believes in the importance of Motherhood. Meritocracy.

Stop supporting and celebrating single women who spread their legs for transient sperm donors.

Value stable heterosexual relationships and being parents.

Devalue Celebrity and the Entertainment complex.

USA had a Holodomor and nobody noticed. As long as there was food at the corporate supermarket, consumers were fat and dull. In In the mid 20th century, Farming became Agribusiness, a joint project of Rockefeller Foundation (There they are again!) and Harvard Business School (Again, Harvard/Yale). Vertical Integration of the Food Supply. Structured like Rockefeller's Standard Oil, a vertical monopoly. Independent farmers were removed from the food supply chain. There were many small farmers, who knew farming as a way of life, working with the soil to grow food. Those many were replaced by fewer large farms run as impersonal business with automation and chemicals. The family farmer became an employee of a corporation that seeks to maximize profits for the few.

Devalue "Profits over People".

In reply to by swmnguy

crossroaddemon Gaius Frakkin'… Sun, 03/11/2018 - 11:14 Permalink

The point is, this is the bleeding edge. A place my ex-wife worked makes injection-molded plastics, and a decade ago they were investing in robots to take parts off of presses. They were expensive, fiddly to set up, and fucked up a lot. But it was a learning process. That place now has half the employees. The robots are short-term loss for long-term gain.

In reply to by Gaius Frakkin'…

ThanksChump crossroaddemon Sun, 03/11/2018 - 11:24 Permalink

Imagine if Flippy wasn't relying on Millennials to design, build and program it: it would be 100x faster, would cost 10% as much, and would run non-stop between carefully-documented planned maintenance actions (change oil every 5,000,000 burgers, or every 3 months, whichever comes first). The 5-yo units would likely be repurposed for drive-thru liposuction stations.


Millennials will save us all from the Robopocalypse via sheer incompetence. I knew they'd come in handy for something.

In reply to by crossroaddemon

Katos Four Star Sun, 03/11/2018 - 14:51 Permalink

Come up to San Francisco and Oakland and tell the tens of thousands of homeless people LIVING IN SQUALOR under the bridges, that they have 4 months to MAKE it big?? These people have already been discarded by a system here in California where tech giants rule the economy and anyone earning less than 500,000 a year, is HOPELESSLY underfunded TO live here!

In reply to by Four Star

divingengineer Katos Mon, 03/12/2018 - 01:35 Permalink

Modern day Robber Barons. Wife and I make 180k between us and it just pays the bills here.

One car payment, one old beater, one kid, he gets clothes when he outgrows them, most of my clothes are older than he is. Eat out once or twice a month. Rent a house in the east bay for $2,900, take it or leave it attitude from landlords and everyone else.

I cannot seem to escape, employers are very leery of California employees and all the problems they bring to out of state jobs. 

Im trapped like a rat. 

Getting squeezed tighter and tighter, gasping for air. 

In reply to by Katos