Is It Only A Matter Of Time Until Most Fast Food Jobs Are Automated?

Fast food workers staged a national protest in cities across the United States yesterday. Their employers may respond to the call for higher wages by speeding up the process to automate their jobs.

Fast food workers in search of higher wages staged a national protest yesterday, prompting hundreds of arrests in cities across the United States. This comes amidst a widespread cultural debate regarding the minimum wage and the infeasibility of living on it full-time. The industry's employers, according to James O'Toole of CNN, could respond by speeding up the process by which most fast food jobs become automated.


While some argue that human interaction is a bedrock of industry hospitality, it's not far-fetched to imagine a future where machines perform most fast food duties. Anyone fortunate enough to spend time in a Wawa or Sheetz knows how little contact is necessary for a satisfying experience. Companies such as Panera, Chili's, and Applebee's have recently announced projects that will further incorporate technology in their restaurants, potentially decreasing their need for servers and register staff. More and more restaurants are introducing easy-order kiosks that operate similar to a high-tech vending machine, the produce emerging nearly unseen from the kitchen.

James O'Toole, who authored the CNN piece, notes that many forecasters predict a gloomy future for fast food workers:

"In a widely cited paper released last year, University of Oxford researchers estimated that there is a 92% chance that fast-food preparation and serving will be automated in the coming decades."

He warns that technologies like self-driving cars and IBM's Watson could threaten the livelihoods of delivery drivers and bartenders, among others. Still, these sorts of technological advances are decades away. O'Toole interviewed one food industry expert who scoffs at the thought of machines taking as many as 92% of jobs. Five to ten percent is more likely, he said.

Keep reading about automation and fast food jobs at CNN Money

Photo credit: Lisa F. Young / Shutterstock

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

People who engage in fat-shaming tend to score high in this personality trait

A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.

Pixabay
Mind & Brain
  • The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
  • The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
  • People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
Keep reading Show less

4 anti-scientific beliefs and their damaging consequences

The rise of anti-scientific thinking and conspiracy is a concerning trend.

Moon Landing Apollo
popular
  • Fifty years later after one of the greatest achievements of mankind, there's a growing number of moon landing deniers. They are part of a larger trend of anti-scientific thinking.
  • Climate change, anti-vaccination and other assorted conspiratorial mindsets are a detriment and show a tangible impediment to fostering real progress or societal change.
  • All of these separate anti-scientific beliefs share a troubling root of intellectual dishonesty and ignorance.
Keep reading Show less

Reigning in brutality - how one man's outrage led to the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions

The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.

Napoleon III at the Battle of Solferino. Painting by Adolphe Yvon. 1861.
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
  • Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
  • Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
Keep reading Show less