Caliburger, a restaurant in Pasadena, California, has a new employee named Flippy. But this fry cook is different. It's equipped with 6-axis arms and Artificial Intelligence. Flippy is a robot that unerringly cooks the perfect burger, every single time. And it's helping to usher in a dependent society I'll call modern feudalism.
Not only does Flippy cook the perfect burger, but the robot doesn't need smoke breaks, doesn't complain about raising the minimum wage, and doesn't show up late for work. Flippy is there all the time, and once the robot is paid for, it is a lifer without any further paycheck except some maintenance costs. Sorta like a robot slave you can buy.
The artificial intelligence robot flips burgers and places them on buns amidst human employees at Caliburger, and the owners of the franchise are so delighted that they're dispatching Flippies to 50 more restaurants.
TechCrunch interviewed Miso Robotics CEO Dave Zito to ask about Flippy's future.
"Flippy is novel, but definitely not a novelty," Zito told TechCrunch ahead of the announcement. "As it improves its speed and skillset over time such as frying, chopping and grilling menu items and adding seasoning or cheese to patties, CaliBurger will see an increase in productivity. In addition, we've modeled our pricing based off expected value each robotic kitchen assistant can provide at scale."
Flippy's entry-level price tag is $60,000 — considerably higher than your average burger chef makes in a year. There's also a 20-percent recurring annual fee for the robot's leaning and maintenance, but Caliburger is confident in its return on investment through decreased wait times, consistency and decreased food waste. (source)
It's easy to see how, in an industry with extremely high turnover, a robot that never complains or asks for more money would be appealing to employers.