Striking fast-food workers could soon lose their jobs to robots: Peter Nowak

Fast-food workers across the United States are being urged to strike on Thursday in an effort to drum up support for higher wages. The unrest has been simmering for some time now, with many employees unable to make ends meet on their painfully low wages.

The cause is noble, but as the old saying goes: the workers may want to be careful what they wish for. They may not get the raises they’re after, but they may indeed end up out of work. Simply put: the robots are coming.

I’ve written before about robotic vending machines that can make hot dogs and pizza automatically, cheaply and quickly. Add French fries to that list.

Belgium-based BreakTime Solutions is making waves in Europe with a new machine that cooks up fries, then dispenses them along with a dipping sauce of choice – ketchup or mayo – in mere minutes, all for just a couple of bucks. Check out the video on the company’s website.

And the Belgian company is just the latest to join the fun. Even Canada’s McCain has been experimenting with similar machines:

Combined with some of the more roboticized dining experiments happening around the world – Nuremburg, Germany, and Harbin, China, are just two examples – it’s clear what direction low-paid, low-skilled restaurant jobs are heading.

Fast-food workers in the United States may want to worry more about whether they’re going to have jobs a few years from now, rather than whether that work is going to pay enough.