Imagine a world where you no longer have to worry how much tip you’ll give to that kid who delivers pizza. Imagine a world where you won’t have to choose between gum and dollar bills to give to the hotel luggage boy. Imagine a world where you luck out getting a janitorial job in case your career heads south because the mop moves by itself.
Those are the problems low-income earners face as experts predict that very menial jobs will be replaced by robots by the year 2030. Some hotels in Japan already have creepy-looking receptionists and robotic bellhops in hotels as well as robotic bartenders. Amazon has long been at work on drone deliveries and chauffeurs and valets may be a thing of the past when driverless cars go full scale in a decade or two.
Domino’s in Australia recently tested a prototype pizza delivery robot. The four-wheeled robot named DRU (Domino’s Robotic Unit) uses GPS for navigation and sensors to avoid obstacles. It’s programmed to use foot or bike paths to avoid traffic and has a speed of 12 miles per hour. Pizza in thirty minutes is unlikely but it delivers the pizza warm and the drinks cold. Domino’s tapped robotics startup Marathon Targets to build DRU even though the startup has its sights on building equipment for live fire training. They could very well build a terminator with a pizza-delivery mode.
“We improvised, we explored, and we discovered that this audacious idea could actually become a reality,”
— Domino’s representative
“We are proud to also be part of this world-first innovation in pizza-delivery technology,”
— Marathon Targets
If this does push through, Australian students will have to work part-time elsewhere. Domino’s did the same thing in the UK using a concept drone three years ago. Probably where Amazon got the idea. While not as advanced as Australia, the US has 100 customized vehicles known as DXPs to deliver pizzas. These customized Chevy Sparks with built-in warming ovens still has drivers though but that could soon change.
Regarding robots and job security, Google’s Alphabet may soon be one letter short as they’re mulling the sale of robotics arm Boston Dynamics. Boston Dynamics is the company that released viral videos of its working bi-pedal robots that have no problem walking in the woods, easily get up when knocked down, open doors, stack packages and earn sympathy for robotic abuse. The video stirred up memories of Astroboy where the cartoon discusses robotic rights.
But sympathy could be the last thing Boston Dynamics robots get from humans losing their warehouse jobs and Google is afraid of getting such a backlash. Besides, they’re already after the chauffeurs market with autonomous vehicles. But there are other reasons they want to break off their robotic arm aside from robots and humans competing in the job market.
“There’s excitement from the tech press, but we’re also starting to see some negative threads about it being terrifying, ready to take humans’ jobs… We’re not going to comment on this video because there’s really not a lot we can add, and we don’t want to answer most of the Qs it triggers,”
— Courtney Hohne, director of communications for Google X
The robots themselves seem terrifying as per internal messages in Google. The giant robotic dogs and the humanoid robots that can get up after getting knocked down. But in a business sense, the robots look expensive and Google wanted to have the robots ‘roll out’ like Autobots as soon as possible when they acquired the Boston Dynamics in 2013.