Business / Science

Could robots replace human workers?


“Flippy” is an automated burger making robot, which operators say can produce 2,000 hamburgers per day (photo: Miso Robotics YouTube).

Jacqueline Guyett & Joseph Kasko

(Buffalo, N.Y.) — Earlier this month, a California hamburger chain began using a robot named “Flippy” to automate its burger making process.

Pasadena-based Caliburger says it turned to the $100,000 machine because the humans employed to cook the hamburgers quit too often. Flippy can prepare 2,000 burgers a day, according to the company.

This story and others, including the use of self-driving cars, have many wondering about the future of the workplace and the integration of robots into everyday life.

To gain some perspective on this, software engineer and Williamsville, N.Y. native Gregg Mojica appeared on the Buffalo Review March 16 to discuss the role of robots in the workplace.

Mojica is the founder and CEO of Clovis, a company that provides an artificial intelligence platform to businesses to help them automate and streamline their operations.

Mojica said he thinks having robots in the workplace can be a good thing, with humans and robots working together.

“With the software evolving to a point where it’s going to be easier to develop…robots will permeate everyday life, all the time,” he said.

Using robots and artificial intelligence in the workplace, according to Mojica, can reduce human error or automate jobs people may not want.

However, he said, one downside is losing the human component in certain jobs.

“The human aspect and the human touch…is really, really important and I think if we remove that we lose a core component of what kind of makes us an ideal society,” he said. “For example, (robots) can’t be creative.”

Mojica said self-driving technology, from companies such as Uber, could pose one of the biggest threats to human workers.

While, he said, the concept of a driver-less car might seem “mind boggling” or “somewhat scary,” the data suggests otherwise.

“These actual self-driving cars are actually significantly better and actually safer than humans are at driving,” he said.

However, some might question that premise after a woman was struck and killed last week by a self-driving Uber car in Arizona.

Ultimately, Mojica said humans who may be displaced by technology in the workplace, will still be needed as software engineers or something similar to program the robots, as we adapt to our changing world.


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