Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
I worry about us.
We’ve become so obsessed with getting everything faster, now and preferably slightly before now that we’re losing sight of who we are.
The idea of standing in line to buy something has become as painful as a root canal without the novocaine aperitif.
We teeter along a line between demanding and desperate and we can’t believe that we have to wait more than a day for Amazon to deliver our face cream.
Which brings me to McDonald’s.
The chain has been busily adapting, developing and morphing into a new version of its former self.
It could really play some sort of role on Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
The chain has revolutionized itself in recent times by introducing radical ideas such as fresh beef and touchscreen ordering.
Now, in suburban Chicago, McDonald’s is taking the next step toward our urgent future.
It’s testing robot ordering at the drive-thru.
I know, I know. Whenever you try talking to robots on the phone at whichever company has given you dreadful service, that robot annoys you more than that person who insists on squeezing into the subway car –with their suitcase — when there’s manifestly no room.
Yet here are suburban Chicagoans — and, who knows, McDonald’s obsessives from the world’s four corners — having to place their orders without realizing they’re talking to a piece of software.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, errors can be made.
After all, how is a machine to know that some shrill voice screaming “I want 17 ice-creams” is merely a spoiled brat who happens to be hungry and three years old?
Yet for McDonald’s speed appears to be everything, so only a robot will do.
What a pitiful example of human impatience.
How many seconds will really be saved by having some lifeless nincompoop of a voice-recognition robot replace the cheery tones of a high school student who never, ever smokes weed?
Worse, this isn’t the only robotification being attempted.
At this suburban Chicago McDonald’s, the burgers will also be flipped by a robot.
My, the work conversation in there must be riveting.
The life-addled will wonder, however, that this newfound adoration for robots has a more sinister motivation than mere speed.
Once the robots are happily ensconced, McDonald’s will simply hire fewer human beings.
It’s hard, especially with today’s relatively full employment, to hire enough high school students with the appropriate sense of responsibility and alertness.
How soothing, then, if you don’t have to.
Naturally, McDonald’s denies any such notion. The robots are there to help the employees, not to replace them, it says.
They’ll tell baseball umpires the same thing when the humans no longer call balls and strikes.
Soon, why need human umpires? You can get just as mad at a robot.
Naturally, McDonald’s will hope that its innovations — which will soon likely spread to more restaurants — will enhance its image, as well as pleasing Earth’s ingrates.
Soon, robot-ordering will be de rigueur and the sight — or sound — of a human will seem retrograde.
Perhaps there’ll be some chain that will market itself as “fast-food, actually made and sold by humans.”