Attack of the Pizza Robots
If you're a fan of the Netflix series Black Mirror, you know that a car accident involving an autonomous pizza-delivery robot was a pivotal plot point in the “Crocodile” episode. But like so much of the fictional tech on that show – virtual reality, digital storage of human memories, literal social-media swarm attacks – a self-driving vehicle that will bring a hot pizza right to your door is just a fantasy. Right?
Business Insider is reporting that Toyota and Pizza Hut have teamed up to create an automated pizza-delivery vehicle called the e-Palette, which they hope to roll out by 2020. This pilotless pie-purveyor might deliver beer and wine as well, for people who've just given up caring about themselves altogether.
Here's what this wonderful machine might look like:
— Pizza Hut (@pizzahut) January 8, 2018
We're already seeing automated ordering kiosks in fast-food restaurants, and burger-flipping robots may soon replace sullen, nose-picking teenagers across the country. As more and more of the food service industry becomes automated, soon you'll be able to enjoy a delicious, freshly cooked meal with no human interaction whatsoever. No surly, button-pushing clerks. No strained small talk with desperately cheerful waitstaff. No need to worry about any bodily substances in your baked potato. No awful, disgusting people. Just hot food, brought to you every step of the way by cold machine logic.
This is bad news for the Fight for 15 movement, which keeps forgetting that the actual minimum wage is $0.00. No business is going to pay a human to do a job that can be done by a gadget that doesn't need bathroom breaks or vacation days. No matter how many modern-day Luddites unironically complain about it on the Internet, automation is just a synonym for civilization. If something can be done by a machine, it will be done by a machine. Whether it's transporting you across town or washing your underwear or making you a cup of coffee or bringing you a Meat Lover's Special on gluten-free crust because you're watching your weight, machines make your life easier.
I mean... how are you reading this right now?
The next step, of course, will be a robot that ventures outside your house to get the machine-made pizza from the self-driving delivery truck, brings it back inside, feeds it to you slice by slice while you watch The President Oprah Show, and then carries you to your treadmill.
Skynet won't need to send cyborgs back in time to kill us. It'll just use heart disease.
Believe me, I know I'm not immune to this trend. One day, even sleazy Internet clickbait will be entirely automated, and hack typists like me will need to find a job that still requires human input. Just look at the following paragraph, which was written entirely by the predictive-text feature of macOS after I typed the word “Pizza”: