Artificial intelligence is enjoying a moment in the sun, as technology progresses into sci-fi realms. A new burger restaurant in San Francisco is set to open to the public this fall -- with robots running the kitchen.
Featuring burgers made by a robot, Creator hopes its recipe goes international and brings food seekers back for more. It has already been selling tickets for tasting events twice a week.
Creator co-founder and CEO Alex Vardakostas says the machine can assemble a burger more efficiently than people can, but the new restaurant won't be completely devoid of human employees. According to a Business Insider article, human staff will be on hand to take orders, deliver food, and to restock the robot's ingredients. Therein lies the promise of bots: They can help nourish humans by taking a bite out of menial tasks.
The last time someone raved about burger-flipping was -- never. We all have those tedious responsibilities that require a twentieth of our brain power. Why not hand them over to a population of uncomplaining robots, so we can spend more time with family, innovate like crazy, and focus on what really matters in life? Of course, doing that would lead to change, and we humans love to hide within our comfort zones. Throw something different into the mix, and we immediately push back
To add further cause for resistance to robots, as A.I. evolves, some writers, pundits, and speakers are sending out warnings that jobs will be lost. According to a Pew Research Center 2015 survey, 80 percent of Americans think their positions will be just fine for decades to come, they're probably being a bit too optimistic. Robots will no doubt take over some aspect of their work -- but that doesn't mean they'll be without choices.
Case in point: Before computers, no one was a coder. Now, they're everywhere. Seventy-five years ago, those folks would have chosen a very different career path. And so it will be with tomorrow's generations, as robots not only take jobs but make jobs.
What's the best way to ensure you won't be on the unemployment rosters by 2050 when ever-more A.I. inventions prove they can do certain jobs faster? Start by taking a few deliberate actions to find the balance between automation and career enhancement.
1. Stop fighting changes in your industry.
For goodness' sake, accept the benefits of all those bots. In the case of Creator's burger-making machine, having fewer hands on each order reduces the likeliness that the food could become contaminated. Robots can streamline many of the things you don't want to do, giving you the chance to exercise more control over other areas of your work. Be sure to keep up; if you ignore robots' presence, you'll be certain to feel it more intensely when you can no longer look the other way.
2. Seek out ways to do a better job.
Instead of seeing robots as adversaries, look upon them as co-workers who are ready and eager to tackle the mundane "to-dos" that leave you wishing for the weekend. At the same time, be wise about the time you save by outsourcing to an A.I. partner. Doing so will give you the opportunity to explore.
Plus, if you play your cards right, you may make yourself more valuable to your company by identifying new disruptions and innovations. For the about nine human employees that a Wired article states will work during Creator's peak hours, this could mean taking time to brainstorm new recipes to teach their robotic colleague or coming up with an innovative way to market the unique eatery.
3. Prepare for the future with personal and professional development.
If you're worried about robots taking your job, remember that the best defense is a good offense. So learn new things. Sign up for classes, check out conferences, and discover all you can about professions that barely exist or don't exist at all yet. Workers who plan ahead can get in on the ground floor of new job opportunities.
Hey, you might be one of the first ethical sourcing officers or masters of edge computing the country sees, giving you exceptional power over the direction your career can go. You may even invent the next big thing. After all, Vardakostas grew up flipping burgers at his parents' restaurant before studying engineering and teaching a machine to do the job he once did.
Even top IT folks agree that we're a long, long way from robots being able to make decisions in the same way humans can. But we can't afford to treat robotics as a flash-in-the-pan movement. Sooner or later, the bots will come knocking, and you need to be ready to invite them in for a soft drink and fries.