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Sign of the Apocalypse #168: Fast Food Restaurants to Begin Replacing Workers with Robots

(But, they’re only CHILDREN!))

By Jared Jones

“Robots are the Illegal Immigrants of the Future,” Says One University of Oxford Study

As you might’ve heard, some of America’s biggest fast-food chains and their, how do I put this, “non-essential personnel” aren’t exactly on solid ground with one another right now. In fact, they’ve been in something of a two year-long Civil War of sorts, with the proletariat wage-workers demanding a $15/hr minimum wage hike (*spit take*) among other things in a seemingly endless series of nationwide protests and strikes. These protests have resulted in hundreds, if not thousands of arrests, and almost certainly, someone not getting their cheeseburger on time and completely freaking their sh*t because of it.

Even worse for the twice pregnant tween moms, high school stoners, and illegal immigrants fighting for their own slice of the Americone Dream™ is that it appears the chain restaurant bourgeoisie are calling their bluff in the most insulting way possible: By replacing them with robots. Emotionless, soulless, no-good stinkin’ robots (via CNN):

“Faced with a $15 wage mandate, restaurants have to reduce the cost of service,” blared an ad in The Wall Street Journal last year from the Employment Policies Institute, which supports corporate interests. “That means fewer entry-level jobs and more automated alternatives — even in the kitchen.”

Panera Bread is the latest chain to introduce automated service, announcing last month that it plans to bring self-service ordering kiosks as well as a mobile ordering option to all its locations within the next three years. The news follows moves from Chili’s and Applebee’s to place tablets on their tables, allowing diners to order and pay without interacting with human wait staff at all.

If I’m not able to interact with anyone at Applebees, then who am I suppose to complain to about my still frozen french fries or rapidly-approaching bowel movement? The woman I forced to have dinner with me at gunpoint?! Pfft.

According to a paper released by the University of Oxford last year, “47 per cent of total US employment is at risk” of being automated, with the fast-food industry leading the charge at 92%. This means self-driving delivery cars, noodle-slicing death machines like the monstrosities featured above, and even robot bartenders that are damn near impossible to sexually harass are headed our way in the near future. While it’s certainly not the first defeat a lifelong fast food employee has suffered in their life, it’s degrading nonetheless.

If you’re as concerned about the very real possibility of a service-industry robot uprising as I am, then you probably don’t take to kindly to the idea of seeing the bright-eyed, eternally cheery members of our fast food community being exchanged for EMP-shooting sentient beings lightly. The thought of this nightmare scenario has probably woken you up in a cold sweat many a night, and made sex with your $7,000, fully-programmable sexbot nearly impossible. Nearly.

I mean, sure, they’re just replacing fast-food workers with robots for now, but what happens when they start coming after those of us with actual jobs. Jobs like…


“No, DocBot, I *don’t* think an oil change will help ease my date rape psychosis, and I’m starting to question your listening skills, to be completely honest.”


We probably should have seen this coming the day that Rocky decided it was cool for a sensually-voiced robot to babysit his kid. WAY TO GO, ROCK.


No emotions = no more encores, no more song requests, and most importantly, no more Tit E. Cam.


Wait…what?! You say that there is a company called Narrative Science that has been teaching computers to write everything from original news stories to snarky, half-hearted farces like this since 2010? And at a quarter of my payrate? CURSE YOU, (Narrative) SCIENCE.

So you think you can just replace my witty insight with the mundane musings of some clinking, clanking, clattering collection of collagenous junk, do you?! Well, Holy Taco overlords, observe the following and know that this is what awaits you…


Not a Unicorn

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