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McDonald’s Doesn’t Like to Pay Humans a Living Wage, So It’s Testing Out Robots

Plus, Republicans have a new “argument” against food stamps, and more news to start your day


Alexa, order fries

It looks like McDonald’s wants its restaurants to be run by cute little robots, scurrying around pouring drinks, flipping burgers, and bouncing customers who bring baby raccoons into the store. According to the Wall Street Journal, the chain is testing robotic fryers and voice-activated drive-through ordering systems. It’s also working on having some food, like chicken and fish, cooked by robots. There’s a variety of reasons for this — mainly, the chain wants to speed up customer service, but of course, it doesn’t hurt McDonald’s bottom line that robots equal fewer staff, and therefore, lower labor costs.

These new technologies won’t all be rolled out in the immediate future, most likely. Voice recognition technology is far from perfect and it seems that kinks are still being worked out — presumably, McDonald’s doesn’t want numerous orders screwed up because a few lines of code can’t understand somebody with an accent saying “fries”. Plus, franchisees are reportedly reluctant to take on the rather substantial costs for such new technologies. But no matter how slowly, the robots — and the rich people that own them — are coming for our jobs.

And in other news...

  • Using some rather convoluted logic, Republicans have dug up a Minnesota millionaire who qualified for food stamps as proof that...nobody needs food stamps? That all food stamp recipients are actually millionaires? The mental acrobatics here are pretty astounding, but in case you’re wondering, the millionaire qualified because he had low income (although obviously not a low bank account). [HuffPo]
  • French clothing label Vetements took over a Parisian McDonald’s for a runway show, featuring extremely unsubtle social commentary, such as a model wearing a name tag that reads “Hello, my name is Capitalism”. [Dazed]
  • Here’s your first look at Taco Bell’s Palm Springs hotel: It has pictures of hot sauce packets on the wall. [Food & Wine]
  • Given the impending climate change apocalypse, Times columnist Timothy Egan says we should probably be eating fake meat. [NYT]
  • Burger chain In-N-Out has settled a lawsuit against patty-flipping rival Smashburger, over Smashburger’s “triple double” burger. A judge already threw out In-N-Out’s claims of trademark infringement. [Reuters]
  • Looks like craft breweries are getting in on non-alcohol beer. [NPR]
  • Seth Meyers and Rihanna drank a lot of booze at the Jane Hotel in New York. It looks fun. [YouTube]

All AM Intel Coverage [E]