Robots will undoubtedly take many of our jobs. Some sectors will be hit harder than others. The food industry is prone to major disruption. Robot pizza makers are slowly becoming more prevalent in Silicon Valley. They make increasingly better pies and improve overall productivity. Food industry workers might see this is a threat to their jobs, and they might be right.
Robot Pizza Makers Have Arrived in Silicon Valley
New technologies are changing and improving the food industry. Not too long ago, we saw the BurgerBot make its mark on the industry. Its implications on displacing human workers have yet to be seen. However, there is a certain aspect of preparing food that warrants a human touch. Robots are currently incapable of creating that uniqueness which humans can provide.
The new robot pizza makers are trying to do things a bit differently that the BurgerBot. They learn how to make better pizza pies through to trial and error. The robotic pizza maker uses machine learning to help it create better pizzas in the future. It is an interesting concept when it comes to mass-producing pizzas, but they will not put artisan pizza makers out of business anytime soon.
The robots beat human pizza makers in a very important area: productivity. They can make more pizzas faster than a human could ever dream to make. It is expected the robot pizza maker will prepare and cook up to ten times as many pizzas compared to a pizzeria with a similar-sized staff. It can do this through clever division of labor. One part of the robot puts tomato sauce onto its pies and another part spreads the sauce. There is even a separate arm to put pies in the oven. A robot to form the dough into a circle will be introduced very soon as well.
Initial investment for the robot will be a costly venture. The robots themselves are not cheap by any means. However, the BurgerBot is not cheap either, yet saves businesses twice its original cost over the course of one year. The profits made by replacing staff with robot pizza makers has yet to be determined. We can assume that investment capital would be easily recovered and profits would compound.
There is still a big difference between a human touch and mimicking the movements of human workers. Robots are rather adept at learning through imitation, but that does not necessarily yield comparable results in quality. Plus, humans can create unique flavors when it comes to pizzas, whereas robots will produce “generic” pizzas by repeating the same processes until it is instructed to stop. That does not mean the pizzas will taste bad, but variety is the spice of life.
It looks like these robot pizza makers are designed to complement human staff rather than replace it. This sounds like the best way to go, for now. Despite the production boost robots can provide, there is always a need for human oversight. One day robots may take replace low-level workers in many industries, including food preparation. For now, however, that does not appear to be the primary objective.