Robot Cafe sees itself as a pro-worker by not hiring any workers


Despite fully automated luxury communism sounding pretty good, Western workers have for the most part felt haunted by the specter of our jobs being taken over by robots. Take RC Coffee, Canada’s first “robotic coffee” aka an “unattended espresso machine,” which is essentially a glorified version of the slime and foam spat into a mug for five quarters in your college dorm living room. . But he’s probably aware of this association and the fear that kiosks like this might actually replace a barista, so he’s trying a new tactic; robots as pro-workers.

Writer Anna Fitzpatrick posted a photo on Twitter of the Robo Cafe street sign, saying “No Karen, you can’t talk to the manager, talk to our robot.” But you can’t talk to a robot! Karen defeated!

It comes at a time when restaurant workers are quitting en masse due to low wages and paltry benefits, and those who stay are reporting a slight increase in customer rights. In a One Fair Wage report released last December, 65% of tip workers said their tips got tied up if they asked a customer to follow COVID security protocols like wearing a mask. A recent Lightspeed survey found that 62% of hospitality professionals in the United States said customers have become more demanding in the past year.

Lightspeed is a hotel commerce platform, and its report states that the labor shortage caused by these conditions means, luckily for them, that “automation technology is now needed to fill in the gaps and support a smaller staff ”. Like the Robo Cafe, he argues that the real pro-worker solution is not to pay workers more and put in place protections against abusive customers, but to have technology replace workers who have left because that customers would not stop asking them to take off their masks so that they could see if they were pretty. You cannot be abused in the workplace if there is no one to yell at!

It would be one thing if we had UBI and universal health care so that workers could be a little freer to leave an abusive work environment, and employers would be forced to provide workers with more than “over $ 0”. But until that happens, no, getting your coffee from an automated kiosk doesn’t make you a champion for fair treatment in the workplace.


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