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Noodle Robots Replacing Workers In Chinese Restaurants

timothy posted about a year ago | from the nothing-can-go-wrong-nothing-can-go-can-go dept.

Robotics 531

kkleiner writes "Recently developed noodle-making robots have now been put into operation in over 3,000 restaurants in China. Invented by a noodle restaurant owner, each unibrow-sporting robot currently costs 10,000 yuan ($1,600), which is only three months wages for an equivalent human noodle cook. As the cost of the robot continues to drop, more noodle shops are bound to displace human workers for the tirelessly working cheaper robots."

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Why do you need a "robot"? (1)

woja (633458) | about a year ago | (#43524895)

Surely a vending machine can cook and dispense noodles?

Re:Why do you need a "robot"? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525021)

1
a : a machine that looks like a human being and performs various complex acts (as walking or talking) of a human being; also : a similar but fictional machine whose lack of capacity for human emotions is often emphasized
b : an efficient insensitive person who functions automatically
2
: a device that automatically performs complicated often repetitive tasks
3
: a mechanism guided by automatic controls

You're hung up on definition 1a.

A vending machine IS a robot.

Re:Why do you need a "robot"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525375)

And you didn't RTFA and see what these things look like.

Re:Why do you need a "robot"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525515)

Yes I did. How do you think I knew that they were thinking purely in terms of a human looking machine?

The OP asked "why not use a vending machine instead of a robot?".

I was pointing out that he was effectively saying "why not use a robot instead of a robot?".

Nice try, no cigar.

Re:Why do you need a "robot"? (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43525419)

sure, a vending machine is a robot but this thing looks like a guy with his legs cut off.

though that might be because the inventor invented it to do it like a human would, so the looks might actually help with sales so that people will feel that it does it like a human and not complain about quality(which could be better or worse).

Re:Why do you need a "robot"? (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#43525521)

Which doesn't really invalidate the point. You don't need machines with two arms and blinking reddish lights to cook noodles, arguably one of the simplest (prepared) dishes ever invented. All you'd need in order to sell it is a bowl of water, a source of heat and some way to accept payment. In this case a microwave oven with a coin slot would do just fine.

Re:Why do you need a "robot"? (3, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#43525215)

Because it has a head and Angry eyebrows, and glowing yellow eyes. Why build a machine that can be considered a tool to make your life easier, when you can build a robot that does the same thing and look like it will overthrow you during the next uprising.

I for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43524901)

Welcome our new robot overlords.

And it begins (5, Insightful)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about a year ago | (#43524907)

Hopefully, since China was the last big pool of cheap human labor, can we please finally now get on with dealing with the fact that we don't need 100% employment anymore? How can we ensure a quality life for everyone now that we know machines can do a lot of the work? By all means, people should still be able to work, but why yank away everything from someone who'd rather do something else?

Re:And it begins (5, Insightful)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year ago | (#43524927)

How would you decide who gets a pass on having to work?

Re:And it begins (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525005)

I'll take one for the team.

Re:And it begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525017)

>How would you decide who gets a pass on having to work?

Based on how much money they would like to spend?

If the average job paid $100,000, and the average need for a person was $25,000, someone might just choose to work every other year and live an above average lifestyle.

Really, no different than it is now, just with more money. :)

Re:And it begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525087)

My take is that nobody would get a pass from having to work, rather everybody would work but, say, only 3 days a week rather than 6.

Re:And it begins (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43525267)

My take is that nobody would get a pass from having to work, rather everybody would work but, say, only 3 days a week rather than 6.

If you only want to work 3 days a week, you can arrange it, but you'll normally have to take a pay cut.

Myself, I work around 30 hours a week. It's great. But a lot of people would prefer to have more money than more time.

Re:And it begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525099)

Divide the number of hours...let's all work 30hrs/week instead of having millions putting in 60+ hours and millions with no job.

Re:And it begins (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#43525175)

Divide the number of hours...let's all work 30hrs/week instead of having millions putting in 60+ hours and millions with no job.

Impossible to do. if a company had say, 20 people working 40 hours a week they had to pay a living wage to, and you cut their time in half while doubling the workforce to 40 to cover all those hours, they would be doubling their payroll expense. While that might be possible financially for some businesses, other businesses work on very thin profit margins and the (possible) slight increase in customers from more people having free time (limited to a very few number of industries) would not be enough to cover the cost. Most businesses would end up having to close, which would lead to just as many people out of work.

And as someone who currently works only 3 days a week because it is so hard to find real, good full time jobs right now, working only 3 days a week gets boring as hell. I would rather work 5 days than 3. By the 3rd day off I am bored out of my mind.

Re:And it begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525245)

I think you're forgetting that, with the robots, "living wage" would also be cut proportionally so there's no increase in the payroll expense.

Re:And it begins (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#43525399)

How would living wage be cut proportionally? People still need to pay mortgages, car notes, buy groceries (robots aren't going to pick vegetables and then deliver them any time soon). A lot of things we buy and use daily are already produced or manufactured through methods that are automated as much as possible, yet it still takes $20-30k for a single person to live comfortably (and this only grows as you have a family, buy a house, etc).

Re:And it begins (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525331)

I would rather work 5 days than 3. By the 3rd day off I am bored out of my mind.

Might I ask why you aren't doing something creative with your time? Paint a picture! Compose a song! Write a novel! Design a game! Create some new cool software! Why are you just sitting around getting bored? USE that time while you have it!

Re:And it begins (1)

losfromla (1294594) | about a year ago | (#43525449)

work 7 days, you sound terribly boring, best to keep you away from people who are aware that life is for living.

Re:And it begins (2)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year ago | (#43525363)

Not only no, but hell no.

France is a perfect example of why this is a horrible idea because they tried exactly this. The idea being that if people were forced to work fewer hours, then you'd be able to have more of those "hours" to spread around, thus giving more people jobs and lowering unemployment. This actually made unemployment worse because the demand for labor isn't as inelastic as far too many people believe.

Re:And it begins (2, Insightful)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about a year ago | (#43525177)

How about we let people decide?

Re:And it begins (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#43525315)

[taps on keyboard, looks at screen] Computer says no....

Re:And it begins (1)

JeanCroix (99825) | about a year ago | (#43525383)

Ooh, game theory!

Re:And it begins (2)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about a year ago | (#43525427)

So let's not even try. In the 19th century the average worker's week was 100 hours. We managed to get that down to 40 hours a week with weekends off with early 20th century technology. Then we stopped?

Re:And it begins (1)

ethanms (319039) | about a year ago | (#43525537)

How about we let artificial people decide? ...seriously though, we need a "Sarcastic" mod because there is no way that letting people decide who works and who does what they want will ever be a success long term, it will become corrupted, and even if not it will be filled with jealousy.

Re:And it begins (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43525329)

Fairly simply. You can survive on your allowance. Want more than survival? Get a job!

Re:And it begins (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43524951)

Who's going to pay for people to just not work?

Re:And it begins (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525049)

Nobody. That's the whole point of the robots: They can, in theory, do the production so cheaply that you can afford to sell the product so cheap that anyone with just a minimal amount of work can pay for it, without you losing anything (because you don't have to pay wages anymore).

Re:And it begins (3, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#43525453)

If anything can be produced cheaply by robots, where are people going to find the minimal amount of work necessary to pay for things? Not everyone can be a robot repairman, or design the robots. Especially a lot of people who work unskilled labor: what are they going to do when robots can build houses or decks, dig pools, or landscape. Why would I go to a human mechanic that charges $250 for a repair (and where would I get that $250?) when I can go to a robot mechanic who does the job for just the cost of parts and overhead?

Re:And it begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525483)

The problem with this is that the scarce resources since the 1950s have been (and, for the forseeable future, will continue to be) land, energy, and minerals (water increasingly so). While progress is being made on all of these, our usage is increasing faster. Labor efficiency increases like this are not going to help standard of living for the masses very much, since it will only drive labor prices down (since the supply is effectively being increased). Until massive improvements in supply of these other scarce resources sees the same 100x factor increase in efficiency labor has, we are going to have to remain in a scarce resource society.

Re:And it begins (3, Interesting)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year ago | (#43525533)

Bingo.

If you eliminate the need for somebody to do a certain task, then that doesn't simply mean that eventually we'll run out of things to do. Now money that was once spent on a noodle cook can be spent on something else. Whether the restaurant spends it on something else, or whether they lower their price so their consumers can spend their money on something else, that money doesn't simply disappear.

The restaurant owner now has more income, so he maybe buys a nicer car.

Or

The customer now spends less on food, so now he buys some nicer shoes.

See "opportunity cost". Or, if you've ever heard of the "parable of the broken window", that is the alternative to this (e.g. forcing them to hire noodle cooks when they don't need them.) This isn't an emerging "job loss problem" that needs to be solved. Socialist types will never understand or accept this, but the market will reach equilibrium. It happens every time, and it has been doing so since time immemorial. Sadly Oregon hasn't learned this yet, and they still force you to pay somebody to pump your gas in order to keep unemployment down, meanwhile they are one of the most unemployed states in the US.

Re:And it begins (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43525149)

The machines will provide for all their needs. In this case, a lifetime supply of noodles. In the future it will be cars and iPads

Re:And it begins (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about a year ago | (#43525165)

The same people who supposedly want to pay to colonize Mars. Why can't anyone pay for an experiment right here about a leisure society? Someone's gotta get on the job of actualizing social change.

Re:And it begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43524955)

Soylent green.

Re:And it begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43524993)

Go write your CV already and finally move out of my basement.

love,
Mom

Re:And it begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525007)

We first must get the masses to realize mankind does not exist solely to convert labor into capital.

Re:And it begins (5, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#43525113)

Good luck, a lot of people wouldn't know what to do with themselves if they suddenly had an extra 50 hours a week (you need to include commuting time, lunches, etc) with no boss giving them structure and direction. Most people would just flop down on the couch and eat Cheetohs until they can no longer get off the couch.

Re:And it begins (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43525057)

One small problem - most (not all, *most*) humans require doing useful pre-directed work as a precondition of having a quality life.

If you're not doing something useful for your family or society, well, you're not going to enjoy life all that much.

I spent a lot of time at my last job sitting idle a lot (mostly in meetings, waiting on people to supply the things I needed, waiting on clients to make up their minds, etc)... long story short, I got so damned bored that I wrote a 450pp book on the hypotheticals of having to rebuild society from scratch (sold nearly 1k copies so far in spite of giving it away for free online as a big .pdf ). I'd built innumerable CG objects, and did a whole lot of other stuff just to keep my brain occupied.

Now you could say that these things are good substitutes, and for many they would be. Idle time can be a beautiful incubator for improving oneself and in some small way the world. OTOH, most folks, when faced with such a condition, turn to entertainment and ennui. As evidence, I present the prevalence of drug/alcohol use, console gaming, and other forms of self-entertainment among those who live more-or-less permanently on governmental assistance.

I guess the point I'm making is this: unless you're a self-starter who can make good use of idle time, having too much of it only leads towards becoming the proverbial Eloi (or, given typical humanity, worse). Not everyone is a classical Greek who can recognize idle time as a means of exploration and challenge (hell, not even me - I still detest the fact that in spite of what I did do, I still consider a huge chunk of lost time as a waste.)

Re:And it begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525201)

erm, blow your own horn much?

how is a book (however many pages it may have) about the hypotheticals of having to rebuild society from scratch written by someone in their slack time NOT entertainment?

I'm assuming that your not a professional rebuild-societies-from-scratch-man, forgive me if I'm wrong.

Re:And it begins (1)

JDevers (83155) | about a year ago | (#43525447)

I agree with you for the most part, however your specific example doesn't illustrate your point very well. Your JOB was boring for great stretches of time, but you were AT work. If on the other hand you worked from home and only had to "work" when you had work to actively do, you could have spent that "wasted" time doing more productive things which you picked. Since you were actually at work, you were limited in what you could do.

My job is very similar, in a typical week I work less than half of the hours I am paid for. If I could do it at home, I would find MANY more productive things to do. Doing more things with my children would be at the top of my list, but being at work while not working directly impedes this. A large part of my recreational time is now spent vegetable gardening, it is both productive, healthy, and a great stress reliever. If I had more time I would spend more time doing this and be able to have a larger garden. Instead of being able to feed my family a large percentage of our daily meals for five months a year (summer basically) when it is easy, I would be able to feed them year around...by doing a hobby. I believe I WOULD be able to recognize this idle time and be able to use it much more productively, but I also believe that many (most actually) people who instantly worked 20 hours per week instead of 40 or more would actually be less productive to society and their families than more.

Re:And it begins (5, Insightful)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year ago | (#43525141)

I believe the science fiction story you want is:

http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm [marshallbrain.com]

Re:And it begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525143)

...can we please finally now get on with dealing with the fact that we don't need 100% employment anymore?

HA! You don't seem to understand how human societies work. I'll let you in on a secret: They aren't generous by default, and they can be quite cruel.

Never assume that this is just going to happen just because "gee, it'd sure be nice". Sorry for the pessimistic outlook, but if history teaches us lessons, then #1 on the list is that all human behavior is coerced on some level.

Re:And it begins (5, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43525221)

FYI China isn't the last big pool of cheap human labor. All the really low-skilled jobs, like textile manufacture, have already moved out of China into southeast asia, etc. Africa and Latin America are waiting in line as well, if they ever become stable enough. The Philippines and India are other potential sources of labor.

Re:And it begins (5, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43525259)

We need to first let go of the perverse idea that work is itself virtuous. Especially in the US, the more productive people get, the more they're working (and the less they're making on a real-inflation-adjusted basis). For a decent chunk of time, as people became more productive, their workload decreased and their leisure increased, but that trend stopped in the early 70's.

But, heck, according to the video somebody else posted here, the property taxes I have to pay are alone more money than a noodle chef makes in a year in China and they keep going up, so the total picture isn't just as simple as "so then just work less".

Re:And it begins (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43525313)

Well, there are jobs that need to be done that nobody really likes doing. The current mode d'employ is simply to force people to do them. By giving them the option to do it or starve. This doesn't work if you give them what they need to survive.

Re:And it begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525333)

No, that isn't how humans do things.

We will let market forces determine the fates of the unemployed. Those who can find other jobs, will. Those who cannot, will either die or resort to crime. Those who resort to crime will eventually wind up in jail, where taxpayer dollars will provide for their needs without empowering them to breed (and hence without making their dependency grow over time).

THAT is how humans do things.

Re:And it begins (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year ago | (#43525341)

Cheap is relative. There will always be "cheap" labor, if only due to division of labor and specialization.

Do you think orange growers in Alaska complain about the "cheap" oranges from Florida?

Re:And it begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525367)

How about instead of creating a system where people don't need to have employment, we just cut working hours to maintain high employment rating but give people better quality of life?

Re:And it begins (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about a year ago | (#43525455)

I'm open to that. Question is, how many other people are?

Re:And it begins (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#43525437)

can we please finally now get on with dealing with the fact that we don't need 100% employment anymore?

Consider what you are proposing; it sounds like an economy not based on monetary exchange for human labor. That's all well and good however whats the plan for purchasing goods people consume? Electricity, food, entertainment, internet access... those costs do not magically go away just because a robot is shoveling coal, growing corn, topless dancing or programming a switch. Besides, employment drives innovation as well as providing mental and social benefits which people do need. Even a Basement Dweller uses mailing lists, IM or IRC.

Re:And it begins (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43525477)

as machines take over jobs to produce products and services people NEED, the jobs will migrate to products and services people WANT. like leisure.

not like the money just vanishes. the unspent money of noodle worker salaries will go into some leisure type business

Re:And it begins (1)

dcollins (135727) | about a year ago | (#43525487)

"How can we ensure a quality life for everyone now that we know machines can do a lot of the work?"

Fewer humans?

YouTube link (4, Informative)

psergiu (67614) | about a year ago | (#43524943)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukNkCnNJuR8 [youtube.com]
YouTube link with the robots in action.

Re:YouTube link (2)

kamapuaa (555446) | about a year ago | (#43525011)

So they're just cut noodles? Much better if the robot was making pulled noodles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT2qbeOfR7E [youtube.com]

Re:YouTube link (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#43525075)

Having Na'vi make your noodles is just as bad as having robots do it.

Re:YouTube link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525171)

They're Chinese, not Na'vi. Easily confused.

Re:YouTube link (1)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#43525093)

That's interesting, though from what I've seen the hard part in making truly great fresh noodles is making the dough. Anthony Bourdain did a segment with a guy that still makes them from scratch in Hong Kong and he talked about permanent groin disfigurement from the pole used to pound out the dough! To me this looks like labor multiplication, you still need someone to do everything other than shaving the noodles, it will just allow a single chef to do the work of several, thus allowing folks who today can't afford to eat out to do so thus freeing up some of their time to do other labor.

Re:YouTube link (1)

muridae (966931) | about a year ago | (#43525205)

Doesn't look like this is the same kind of noodle as those. That looked like just pre-made dough out of a pack, and would almost have to be to allow the robot to shave consistent sized noodles. Seems like that at the rate they need noodles, they had to pay someone to do only that and nothing else. Imagine a fastfood company here paying one person to 'just cut buns in half'.

$4,700 Per Year! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525393)

$4,700.00 per year to hire a human noodle "chef"(slicer).

A Chinese restaurant worker's salary for 1 year is $4,700.00! $18 per day, assuming a 40 Hr. work week. Yet, he's still losing his job to automation!

Them's The Breaks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43524945)

Good, bad or indifferent - all unskilled labor is at risk of being thusly replaced.

Without taking a stance on the relative merits of employment vs progress - do we need a new story every time another menial task is automated?

Re:Them's The Breaks (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#43525163)

Robots are like asteroids.

We need to keep an eye on every single one, lest we overlook the one that will destroy all humanity.

Re:Them's The Breaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525297)

For an increasingly rising definition of "unskilled", yes. The machines are already doing all the (smart money) stock trading, ffs. Eventually the only people employed will be software engineers.

Re:Them's The Breaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525467)

Not hardware engineers? Surely if your software is advanced enough to design and produce more and more advanced hardware, it can do the same for software. Then we're ALL unemployed...

The personal touch (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#43525019)

Nothing says savory noodles like an army of robots with glowing eyes.

The Luddite Fallacy (1)

mfwitten (1906728) | about a year ago | (#43525063)

Read about it [wikipedia.org] and understand it.

Re:The Luddite Fallacy (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43525445)

It's a given that with advancing technology jobs will become obsolete while others will replace them. But the jobs replacing the obsolete ones will require higher skill. You can't simply move a worker that did some menial job earlier to a position that requires specialized training.

It's not really a robot. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525065)

It's not really a robot. It's simple kitchen appliance with dummy head.

Not A Robot! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525073)

This is basically a simple Kitchen Appliance with a face attached. I don't consider this a 'proper' Robot.. If this is a Robot then me super-glueing a Barbie head to my washing machine makes it a "Washing Robot".

Re:Not A Robot! (0)

JeanCroix (99825) | about a year ago | (#43525145)

You couldn't anyway. The USPTO has already granted me a patent for such a washing robot.

You are wrong. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525459)

From merriam webster [merriam-webster.com] :

2: a device that automatically performs complicated often repetitive tasks

It is a robot.
 

Re:Not A Robot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525493)

Make it a real doll head and call it a sexbot.

What now? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525105)

What do I do now with my Masters degree in noodle slicing?

Re:What now? (1)

Pharoah_69 (2866937) | about a year ago | (#43525211)

Do you have a minor in Dumplings to fall back on?

obligatory "noodle" joke... (2, Funny)

schlachter (862210) | about a year ago | (#43525119)

Robot uses it's noodle to make...noodles!

Re:obligatory "noodle" joke... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525249)

In Soviet Russia people take jobs away from robots?

Re:obligatory "noodle" joke... (3, Funny)

pr0nbot (313417) | about a year ago | (#43525293)

Now all we need is an apostrophe robot that check's all our submissions!

Re:obligatory "noodle" joke... (1)

Brucelet (1857158) | about a year ago | (#43525509)

Humans use their noodles to make robots that make noodles used by humans.

Capital vs Labour (4, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#43525127)

Whenever Marxists talk about economy they like to overstate the importance of labour and understate the importance of capital. They are of-course completely wrong, there is always a cost associated with labour and a cost associated with capital, the more labour costs the more it makes sense to use capital to decrease cost of labour and that's why we get labour saving devices.

The first shovel displaced people from digging holes with their bare hands and sticks.

The first excavator displaced thousands of people with shovels.

Computers displaced untold numbers of individuals, millions upon millions obviously that's because computers are labour savings devices.

In the process we make the operators of the labour saving devices so much more productive because they command these tools. Notice however that without capital (savings used as investments) no person can increase his productivity in any significant manner, you can't just dig with a shovel fast enough to be as productive as a guy operating an excavator.

You can't count numbers with your ruler or an abacus or just a piece of paper and a pen as fast as a computer that runs a program. The person that operates the implement is now much more effective, much more productive than all the manual workers were, but of-course the number of workers that are needed go down dramatically.

It's interesting to hear people talk about "productivity of the economy going up while employees who grow the productivity aren't ripping the reward, instead the owners do". Well excuse me, the owners created the productivity, not the employees.

Employees are not adding to productivity, it is the owners, the investors, the capitalists that are improving their productivity. In case of the noodle restaurants the productivity of the owner (investors) of the restaurant is going up, he can serve more noodles with fewer labourers doing manual work, but it costs him the original investment into the labour saving device - the robot.

People displaced by the robot are not increasing their productivity, they lost all of it, now they have to find a different job. However from POV of the market this is a very good development - the fewer people we need to do things that we do already now, the more supply of labour exists and so prices for labour go down and more businesses can be created because it takes less capital, less investment to hire people at lower prices to do things that were uneconomical while the cost of labour was more expensive before the labour saving devices were added to the economy and replaced these workers.

It is a good thing for any consumer of goods to be able to buy more of them cheaper, to have more choice and to see more competition (even among labour and capital).

The price of the robot is higher than cost of a human noodle cutter, the prices now will come down for human noodle cutter and more restaurants may even open because of this development.

It's possible that most restaurants will eventually have noodle cutting robots and there will be a competitive advantage of having a human cut noodles, maybe somebody will advertise their restaurant as one that does not use robots, some people are gullible enough to prefer that, but that would be a niche item of-course.

More importantly, the restaurant is now more productive, the labour market has more surplus so it may be cheaper for other businesses to hire labour, and that's great. As long as the government does not try to "level the playing field", as it is now in America trying to do for Brick and Mortar stores, that cannot compete with the Internet stores, that are obviously more competitive and can do more for less money.

The government steps in and makes everything more expensive for one reason only: get more money for politicians. They can be on the side of a business that cannot compete in the changing business environment because of all the new labour saving devices (like the Internet, which is a labour saving device).

The government steps in and declares that it will 'level the playing field', what it means is that it will steal the efficiencies that businesses found that allow them to do things differently and offer lower prices. Of-course the economy suffers because of it, the consumers suffer, the only people marginally gaining are the monopolists that the politicians end up helping and of-course the real winners are the politicians, who get to steal some more of your freedoms and sell them to the highest bidders an cash in.

Re:Capital vs Labour (0)

kamapuaa (555446) | about a year ago | (#43525189)

You must be a lot of fun at parties.

Re:Capital vs Labour (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525231)

Of-course I am, I don't discuss economics at parties, maybe you do and that's why you are projecting?

Re:Capital vs Labour (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525327)

That's robot-speak for 'I am rubber, you are glue...'

This post has been brought to you by roman_mir (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525227)

...who I suspect is a robot program designed to make posts like his. No manual labor can be as efficient

Re:Capital vs Labour - They're made out of meat. (2)

j-stroy (640921) | about a year ago | (#43525377)

Above comment is simplistic to the point of being deceptive. Twitty $ Grubbers like that forget what civilization is actually about. Lowering labour costs when the required cost of living is higher is a problem and not an end goal worthy of being sought. Capital doesn't care if it is unused, but unused people crash pretty fast, and civil society shortly thereafter. Politicians delegate money for infrastructure. To quote Naheed Nenshi a Mayor of Calgary: "snow removal isn't a right wing or left wing issue." Capitalism seeks the excess benefits for profit while unfairly leveraging the mutil-millenial lineage of human knowledge that brought their enterprise to bear fruit. Its ours, fuck off.

Re:Capital vs Labour (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525407)

That's all fine and dandy, but what to do with the displaced workers?

Back in the 90s when Globalization was just taking off, the economists proclaimed from their Ivory Tower that everyone's standard of living will increase because of cheaper products and what we need to do in the West is go up the food chain. Interesting metaphor they used "food chain".

Because as we all know from high school biology, there's only so much room at the top of the food chain. If going up the food chain was the answer, then the World's oceans would be filled with sharks, tuna, killer whales, etc ....

Sure, you're right, as we use more and more robots for labor and what have you, it'll be better - for capital.

The thing is, what do we do with all that "surplus labor"?

Let'em fight in the streets for food like dogs?

And when capital has their robots doing the work, exactly how is the "surplus labor" going to earn money to consume and keep the economy going?

Go to school and train for something else? Like what? As we are seeing now, people rushed into college, racked up debt for an education only to have a glut of labor at their level. And we still have big corps shipping THOSE jobs over seas too - even the high on the "food chain" jobs like medical and law.

What will happen is that the wealth disparity between rich and poor will get so great - the rich will have everything and the poor will have nothing and the poor will rise up and everything will be destroyed and humanity will have to start from scratch.

Capitalism is hitting its limits: socialism has proved unsustainable.

Re:Capital vs Labour (4, Informative)

Wildclaw (15718) | about a year ago | (#43525421)

Whenever Marxists talk about economy they like to overstate the importance of labour and understate the importance of capital.

Umm, the whole concept of Marxism is basically based around technology causing capital to become increasingly valuable, eventually leading to the capital in a few private hands destabilizing the economy and society as a whole.

Re:Capital vs Labour (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43525507)

The owners provide capital that would be worthless without labor. The productivity was created by the labor that made the robot. The capital just bought it.

I don't think not paying taxes is being more competitive.

This labor saving will be really great when they are no more jobs. Then the economy can truly flourish.

Protip: not everyone cares about the economy more than their fellow man.

Wafflebot says "Fuck Pancakes" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525157)

Sprays hot syrup in your face.....

I for one welcome our noodle making overlords! (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#43525255)

Finally the Chinese have been outsourced, the circle is complete.

No way this can go bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525271)

Great! We're arming them with knives now!

I for one would (1)

nimbius (983462) | about a year ago | (#43525285)

like to be the first to welcome our new robotic noodle shaving overlords.

noodle joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525301)

How about we let people decide?

=================
http://solutionprice.com
=================

So, one noodle shop in 10,000 ? (2)

mbone (558574) | about a year ago | (#43525307)

There are a lot of noodle restaurants in China. Based on my extremely limited sampling, for most of them $1000 USD would be a hefty expense.

There are also a lot of cheap (but not quite as cheap) noodle restaurants in Japan (and Taiwan) as well - I wonder if this invention might find more of a market there.

the New emperor (2)

Pharoah_69 (2866937) | about a year ago | (#43525335)

Looking at the picture from the news article, I got the feeling that all those robots looked like the Terracotta Army. If only he could program them to fight Kung Fu, then he might have that army. Then again, he might then put them in the Robot Combat League.

Obligatory "Blade Runner" reference... (1)

Vexler (127353) | about a year ago | (#43525409)

"A new life awaits you in the off-world colonies, the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure..."

Give me four. No, four! Two, two, four! ...and some replicant-served noodles.

they took our job! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525451)

Time to get into the pile!

A good read (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525473)

This online short novel is totally relevant to this topic, analyzing 2 possible outcomes to the robotization of labor

http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm

I, for one, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43525511)

chow down to our new robotic overlords.

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