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posted by janrinok on Sunday August 17 2014, @01:14AM   Printer-friendly
from the as-C3PO-said-"If-I-might-venture-an-opinion..." dept.

phys.org reports a new restaurant has opened in China's eastern province of Jiangsu that is staffed mostly by robots:

Two robots are stationed by the door to cheerfully greet customers, while four short but humanoid machines carry trays of food to the tables. In the kitchen, two large blue robots with glowing red eyes specialise in frying, while another is dedicated to making dumplings.

The cooking robots are loaded with ingredients by human staff, who also help to make some dishes.

Each robot costs around $6,500, which is roughly equal to the annual salary of a human employee. Rising labour costs in China have encouraged manufacturers to turn to automation, and the country last year surpassed Japan to become the world's biggest consumer of industrial robots.

I can't help but be reminded of Bender explaining "There was nothing wrong with that food. The salt level was 10% less than a lethal dose."

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Nvidia Announces “Moonshot” to Create Embodied Human-Level AI in Robot Form 16 comments

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2024/03/nvidia-announces-moonshot-to-create-embodied-human-level-ai-in-robot-form/

In sci-fi films, the rise of humanlike artificial intelligence often comes hand in hand with a physical platform, such as an android or robot. While the most advanced AI language models so far seem mostly like disembodied voices echoing from an anonymous data center, they might not remain that way for long. Some companies like Google, Figure, Microsoft, Tesla, Boston Dynamics, and others are working toward giving AI models a body. This is called "embodiment," and AI chipmaker Nvidia wants to accelerate the process.

[...] To that end, Nvidia announced Project GR00T, a general-purpose foundation model for humanoid robots. As a type of AI model itself, Nvidia hopes GR00T (which stands for "Generalist Robot 00 Technology" but sounds a lot like a famous Marvel character) will serve as an AI mind for robots, enabling them to learn skills and solve various tasks on the fly. In a tweet, Nvidia researcher Linxi "Jim" Fan called the project "our moonshot to solve embodied AGI in the physical world."

[...] According to Fan, Project GR00T is a cornerstone of his newly founded GEAR Lab (short for "Generalist Embodied Agent Research"). During his time at Nvidia, Fan has specialized in using simulations of physical worlds to train AI models, and now that approach is extending to robotics. "At GEAR, we are building generally capable agents that learn to act skillfully in many worlds, virtual and real," wrote Fan in a tweet. "Join us on the journey to land on the moon."

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  • (Score: 0, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17 2014, @02:25AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17 2014, @02:25AM (#82191)

    If the 'increase minimum wage' morons get their way, expect these robots to be in a McDonald's near you.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by MadTinfoilHatter on Sunday August 17 2014, @03:48AM

      by MadTinfoilHatter (4635) on Sunday August 17 2014, @03:48AM (#82194)

      If the 'increase minimum wage' morons get their way, expect these robots to be in a McDonald's near you.

      Doubtful. Europe has far better worker protection laws (including minimum wage laws) than the US, and you don't see European fast food chains going this route. Also, even if simple menial tasks were replaced by machine labour, why would that be a bad thing? Are we worse off because elevators nowadays are operated by the push of a button + automation, rather than a human operator? I think not.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17 2014, @04:34AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17 2014, @04:34AM (#82203)

        I didn't mean that automation was a bad thing, but if it did happen the minimum wage advocates would be up in arms.

        You'll probably find these machines at McDonald's stores in Europe too before long.

        • (Score: 1) by CirclesInSand on Sunday August 17 2014, @05:34PM

          by CirclesInSand (2899) on Sunday August 17 2014, @05:34PM (#82319)

          Don Thompson, the CEO of McDonalds, has a BS in EE from Purdue. He probably won't be philosophically opposed to automation. And while GP may be a troll, it's not necessarily untrue-- striking to get an increase in minimum wage when you work for minimum wage is a good way to get your hours reduced or your job eliminated entirely. "Moron" is a fairly accurate description.

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday August 17 2014, @04:40AM

        by frojack (1554) on Sunday August 17 2014, @04:40AM (#82204) Journal

        You don't see it because its new on the market, or maybe not even in the market yet.
        Did you not even read the summary let alone TFA?

        Far more than menial tasks are being performed by the robots.
        In fact the people are doing the menial tasks.
        quote "The cooking robots are loaded with ingredients by human staff".
         

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      • (Score: 2) by q.kontinuum on Sunday August 17 2014, @07:59AM

        by q.kontinuum (532) on Sunday August 17 2014, @07:59AM (#82233) Journal

        The problem is not the automation or the lack of tasks for humans, but the impact on wealth redistribution. People are not sad to work 20 instead of 40 hours a week due to increased productivity, they are sad that the capital owners lose their incentive to share with the (former) working class. That's the problem ever since productivity through automation superseded the demand in human resources.

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      • (Score: 1) by CRCulver on Sunday August 17 2014, @01:29PM

        by CRCulver (4390) on Sunday August 17 2014, @01:29PM (#82266) Homepage

        Doubtful. Europe has far better worker protection laws (including minimum wage laws) than the US, and you don't see European fast food chains going this route.

        What are you talking about? Self-service checkouts at supermarkets are expanding wildly through Europe now. The Nordic countries have the Omena hotel chain that has done away with human receptionists. There is a push for automation here.

        Also, even if simple menial tasks were replaced by machine labour, why would that be a bad thing?

        It wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing in Europe, where the welfare state ensures that the unemployed can get by, and there are in some countries good programmes to retrain redundant workers for some other field. However, news like this does bother people from the USA, as in that country, being made redundant from one's job imparts quite a sense of shame in front of one's friends and family, and there might not be the political will to extend the dole to veritable masses of unemployed due to automation.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17 2014, @04:52PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17 2014, @04:52PM (#82308)

        Having never stepped foot in europe myself I can call that hogwash.

        Now that I have made you mad here is why.

        Right now restaurant automation is borderline ok/bad. So it depends on the quality of help you have and the cost of that help. If it takes 3-4 years to ROI most businesses will not do it. Most are 3-4 months out on ROI projections (many small ones go month to month surviving on business loans). However, if you get into a chain they may think a little differently but are still thinking of their shareholders putting you in 6/12 month cycle. So the cycle still holds but for very different reasons. So if you can ROI in 1-2 months on a robot you will see businesses use them. IF the robot can accomplish the same job. It gets even better for us humans tax wise. As a robot is a capital expense and a human is not. One can be deducted and depreciated.

        I expect within 5 years all of the front of house in mcdonalds to be touch screen/voice order kiosks. Then 5-10 after that the whole back of house to be automated. With people popping in 'food cartridges' that are delivered by a google self automated driving truck that shows up JIT. All perfectly made and exactly the way someone in oak brook il thought it should taste. All mcdonalds will be open 24/7 as there will be no reason to turn it off. The good news for us humans? We no longer get cold fries.

        As you raise min wage you will eventually cross that 'good enough' threshold and that 'ROI' threshold. At that point you may delay it with laws. But new businesses that never had people will just fill that place. Eventually when you cross that threshold massive innovation will happen. As these businesses will demand better and better robots and by the way cheaper than last years model. That will create some new jobs but in no way back fill the thousands who will be out of one. Just like Apple cracked the smart phone nut. It was data plans and storage. Massive pent up innovation happened very quickly. However, it is now polishing the brass.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU [youtube.com]

    • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Sunday August 17 2014, @08:47PM

      by aristarchus (2645) on Sunday August 17 2014, @08:47PM (#82379) Journal

      Evidently you are unfamiliar with Karl Marx's theory of capital intensification? Automation saves labor costs, but the market will adjust to ensure no one has any advantage (machines cost just as much as they save), so capitalism will result in the fall and elimination of profits, due to technology and a fair market!

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by Bot on Sunday August 17 2014, @05:36AM

    by Bot (3902) on Sunday August 17 2014, @05:36AM (#82211) Journal

    All these years of programming, and I end up flipping burgers.

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  • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Sunday August 17 2014, @02:11PM

    by maxwell demon (1608) on Sunday August 17 2014, @02:11PM (#82272) Journal

    "Two robots are stationed by the door to cheerfully greet customers"

    That reminds me of another quote ...

    "All the doors in this spaceship have a cheerful and sunny disposition. It is their pleasure to open for you, and their satisfaction to close again with the knowledge of a job well done."

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 2) by RobotMonster on Monday August 18 2014, @04:49AM

      by RobotMonster (130) on Monday August 18 2014, @04:49AM (#82480) Journal

      Genuine People Personalities. Yep, I should have included that one in the summary too.

      Are the greeter robots armed? Can they prevent people from doing a runner without paying their bill? :-)

  • (Score: 1) by richtopia on Sunday August 17 2014, @05:57PM

    by richtopia (3160) on Sunday August 17 2014, @05:57PM (#82331) Homepage Journal

    There are two aspects of fast food that need automation

    1. Food delivery - Most factories have conveyors or overhead delivery systems for moving parts around, why not do the same for a restaurant? Put the food in a basket and type table 14. This appears to be what has happened in the article, although the restaurant is playing up the robot aspect.

    2. Food prep - For fast food making food largely could be automated. If the restaurant is serving food roughly at the quality from your frozen food isle, there is a good chance that there already is a process for performing this.

    I've wanted to make a vending machine for White Castle burgers. The burgers are so thin they cook very consistently, and everything is so similarly sized that I don't see any major hangups.

  • (Score: 2) by darkfeline on Monday August 18 2014, @12:59AM

    by darkfeline (1030) on Monday August 18 2014, @12:59AM (#82433) Homepage

    I suppose for all of those people who no longer have any jobs due to increasing efficiency offerred by technology, we could send half of them to lay railroad tracks out in the middle of nowhere, and the other half to dismantle those railroad tracks. Heaven forbid we fix our economic system to adapt to a world where there aren't enough jobs for everyone to be working 40 hour workweeks.

    With that out of the way, I think this is an awesome thing. You also don't have to worry about waiters spitting in your food if they're having a bad day or anything. Well, at least if a waiterbot suddenly starts massacreing patrons, you can be confident knowing that it wasn't anything personal.

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Murdoc on Monday August 18 2014, @02:05AM

    by Murdoc (2518) on Monday August 18 2014, @02:05AM (#82448)

    Asimov's Laws of Robotics were laws for robots on how to deal with humans. These laws were written on how people should deal with robots:

    THE THREE LAWS OF ROBOTICS APPLICATIONS

    1. Robots must continue to replace people on dangerous jobs. (This benefits all.)
    2. Robots must continue to replace people on jobs people do not want to do. (This also benefits all.)
    3. Robots should replace people on jobs robots do more economically. (This will initially disadvantage many, but inevitably will benefit all as in the first and second laws.)

    by Shimon Y. Nof (Nowomiast)
    Handbook of Industrial Robotics, first edition, 1985

    The whole point of machines is to make our lives easier, so why not let them? Oh right, because if they take our jobs, we'll have no money to buy the things we need. The only way we can continue to let machines do our jobs for us is if we decouple income from work. That's a pretty radical idea I know, but it can be made to work. [technocracy.ca]

  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday August 18 2014, @12:44PM

    by VLM (445) on Monday August 18 2014, @12:44PM (#82567)

    I'm sorry it took days for this observation to set in, but I'm unclear on if this will improve or ruin the hooters restaurant experience.

    On one hand, more time for the girls to socialize and less carrying around of food might be profitable. On the other hand it might end up being only 1 or 2 girls in the restaurant at any given time to make more money. On the third hand would the money keep coming in if there's only 1 or 2 girls in the restaurant at any given time etc etc.

  • (Score: 1) by mgcarley on Tuesday August 19 2014, @02:29AM

    by mgcarley (2753) on Tuesday August 19 2014, @02:29AM (#82871) Homepage

    I seem to recall seeing something very similar to this in a movie not too long ago, except they were kind of robot-like humans or clones or something. I can't remember the name of the movie, but reading this is giving me flashbacks to it.

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