Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Bring Back Automats

  [vote for,

The issue with automats in the past is possibly technological, in that it is not as flexible as human operators in switching orders around.

E.g. In the past, each surface is dedicated to only a particular food, along with a coin operated slot nearby. And food had to be made first in anticipation of a sale, rather than made to order. This was necessary due to the technological limitation of the past.


Why is this not the case anymore?

Because we can decouple the 'payment section' from the 'receiving food' section via advance tech now.

# payment

Instead of a payment station next to each stationary slot, you can put a few kiosk on one end instead (or make it totally wireless via the internet. Best to have both).

# receiving food/products

Instead of a dedicated slot for a specific food, the receiving section is done as a FIFO buffer. This is by robotic transport or conveyor system, with a door on each section for people to get their food (but without stealing other).

# flexibility

The backend could be either fully automated, or partially human. In the past it was mostly human and we didn't really have enough of automation or minimum wage to provide the incentive to actually automate the backend. So with the cheap human labor, might as well get them to do kiosk work, and if so then why bother with automats.

This is not so any more. Rightfully more places are applying minimum wage, and technology has improve enough to be a serious competitor to human work.

Thus with backend starting to be automated, we might as well start phasing out humans in the front end as well. Especially as now there is a price (via minimum wage) against the externalities of undervaluing human work.


So there we have it, we should implement automats, as they are faster, and more reliable, and frankly means more people will be out of work.

Now just got to deal with ensuring the well being of those out of a job, by ensuring that part of the increase in efficiency by automation actually reaches to those who are now out of work because of it.

Otherwise, we just get neo-Luddite, who if they win, will set us back a while. And they will be right to do so.

mofosyne, Dec 14 2014

Image of an automat frontend in the past http://upload.wikim...1/13/Automat_02.jpg
Notice how it's not very flexible, compared to humans [mofosyne, Dec 14 2014]

Automat - Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automat
[mofosyne, Dec 14 2014]

mm liked the Automat https://www.youtube...watch?v=eL7ETLLkQTY
At about .42 into the song "or help you at the Automat" [popbottle, Dec 15 2014]


       I had no idea that such things existed - they seem rather terrible.   

       In any case, I would avoid eating whatever is in the third machine from the left in the first-linked image. Any meat product called "super dikke" is very suspect.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 14 2014

       It's dutch, it means really fat.
zeno, Dec 14 2014

       — bigsleep, Dec 14 2014   

       Can't see how that wouldn't work, these are backend room stuff. So the technology won't have to deal with the complication of avoiding killing/maiming your customers.   

       In fact you could make that somewhat of an attraction. (Glass window into the automated food factory floor, so you can see your order get made in real time, before sliding to the receive slot.
mofosyne, Dec 14 2014

       When I was a kid and we went to NYC, we sometimes ate at the automat to save time before going to the theatre or wherever...I'm going to bun this for sentimental value. +
xandram, Dec 15 2014


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