Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
On the one hand, true. On the other hand, bollocks.

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Fast-food restaurant ran by little robots
  (+23, -6)(+23, -6)
(+23, -6)
  [vote for,

This idea was inspired by S. Clemens' Tom Sawyer

You walk up to one of the several terminals set into a counter, and choose your order. After a quick swipe of the credit card, a throng of small wheeled robots scurry around to prepare your order, on the other side of a large glass window.

Magic? Me thinks not, cause here is the rub.

Each robot is run by a person. The person does not know he is running a robot, though. The person is playing an on-line role playing game, who's subroutines match subroutines for the robot.

Let me explain...

You order a crispy chicken sandwich combo meal. An on-line gamer, tied to a sandwich making robot, enters a dungeon level whose rooms correspond with the different stations the robot must go to for the sandwich material.

Player enters room one, skirts around fellow player (another robot working on a different customers order), picks up enchanted chain-mail (retrieves chicken patty from dispensing unit), exits room and travels down corridor to another room (goes back to sandwich assembly station # 23) and engages in melee with a wraith (places patty on bun) ... so on and so on.

Battery life of robot is represented as health of the player. When health gets low, player must go to an inn and rest (robot docks with charging station).

Stocking robots fill dispensers with meat patties, cheese slices, lettuce, tomato slices, etc, by means of puzzle-style game where players find puzzle pieces and bring them back to the board to place in correct spot, etc.

What this all equates to is a work-force that is *paying you* to work, and a restaurant that would attract an enormous amount of costumers based solely on the novelty of watching hundreds of small robots scurrying about to make their food.

Additional Notes:

[Wagster] Anytime a player stops playing, hits pause, dies, etc, another player can be inserted into that spot (one that was not previously controlling a robot) by having his character fall into a "secret level". Secret levels would, of course, offer better items so as to ensure the replacement would be less likely to saunter off before the order is complete.

[mylodon] To help ensure productivity, the point system for the game will reward game-play that makes for efficient order completion. This will sub-consciously make better workers via operant conditioning (see B. F. Skinner). **Enter new ethical objections** Levels will be attained by score, and higher level players will take priority in controlling robots.

[2 Fries] The robots will have water-proof and ruggediz(s)ed construction. There will be a steam-cleaning, spray-nozzled, archway positioned en-route to the charging stations

* * * * * * * This bit is my personal favorite * * * * * * *

Sooner or later there will be less on-line gamers playing than is required to run the restaurant. When a robot no longer receives any controller input, it will

1. Move directly to the waste receptacle and dump whatever it may or may not be carrying.

2. Drive over directly behind the view window, and parade back and forth while a small sign is extended out of it's casing that reads one of the following messages "We demand a 401K", "More pay, Less hours", "No raise, No work!", "We want health-care".

That's right. If an order cannot be completed, the customer's money will be refunded and, hopefully, watch the "robots strike" will alleviate any ill-feelings.

MikeD, May 27 2008

(?) As yet unnamed geometric symbol http://blog.wired.c...nmark_chidorian.jpg
[theleopard, May 28 2008]

[theleopard], I thought that was called a WHISTLE http://en.wikipedia...:Whereisthelove.jpg
WHere IS The LovE [4whom, May 31 2008]

Leeroy Jenkins http://video.google...=186971234801829858
Imagine the burgers! [theleopard, Jun 03 2008]

Robotic Nation (long article) http://www.marshall.../robotic-nation.htm
The "HowStuffWorks.com" founder thinks the robot-run welfare state begins with McDonalds. [sninctown, Nov 08 2009]


       are these robots bald? I cannot handle hair on my food.
po, May 27 2008

       Most online gamers hang out at auction sites, buying and selling clothes so they can stand around just out side of auction sites, modeling their clothes.   

       I guess you'd have to have extra robots to account for all the ones just hanging around selling Dragonskin Pants of Holding.
mylodon, May 27 2008

       Looks to me like a stealthy way of using child labor. Fishbone for you, Fagin.
Bad Jim, May 27 2008

       I like it!! Although I hope the player would be able to take a break and go to a real job, after which he could go home.
TahuNuva, May 28 2008

       So bizzare it needs a bun +
simonj, May 28 2008

       If they can go through the dishwasher it gets my +   

       What if your fry-cook gets attacked by an orc?
wagster, May 28 2008

       In a way, i like it, and i have voted for it. I think it could be extended to other tasks as well, in a crowdsourcing-style way maybe, but there's an ethical problem with the likes of vegetarians and people who have religious restrictions on their diets. I wonder what orthodox rabbis would make of it, and bearing them in mind, what if a Jew is playing it on a Friday but the restaurant is in a time zone where it's Saturday?   

       In general, there's an elusive and interesting ethical problem with this, connected to dietary ethics, child labour and sabbatarianism. This is not a criticism, because it makes the idea wrong (morally) for interesting reasons, and wrongness for interesting reasons is actually better than rightness.
nineteenthly, May 28 2008

       Evil, be thou my good.
zeno, May 28 2008

       Yes, this could develope all sorts of ethical issues, of which I would be most pleased to discuss.   

       Bear in mind, this idea is being presented as for filing under: Evil Genius.   

       [Bad Jim] I would like to address the child labor issue, first and foremost (since it cost me a bone).   

       The end-game goal is to have profit from both the restaurant AND the on-line game, so unless the child has a credit card, they wont be playing without parental assent. The child chooses to play willingly, and if you want to get down-right technical, t.v. networks profit off of children watching t.v. (else there would not be toy commercials between cartoon episodes.) I don't see how this differs.   

       //What if your fry-cook gets attacked by an orc//   

       Excellent question, [Wagster]. See additional notes.   

       [2 fries] , see additional notes.   

       [mylodon], see additional notes.   

       //wrongness for interesting reasons is actually better than rightness// [marked-for-tag-line]
MikeD, May 28 2008

       I know who I'd like to make my order...   

theleopard, May 28 2008

       Sounds like fun, you can place a patty on this bun.+
I don't like the *Mc* part, though. Everything fast food is NOT MacDonald's. (Or are they Irish?)
xandram, May 28 2008

       Are you aware of the "public:evil" category here?   

       I suppose actually this whole place is about wrongness for interesting reasons.   

       Could they be "cRobots" instead of "McRobots"? That way, they could describe a mysterious unnamed curve which somehow joins up with itself.
nineteenthly, May 28 2008

       Scientists are still trying to find a name for it...
theleopard, May 28 2008

       I did find it funny. I just couldn't bring myself to bun such a twisted idea outside the evil categories
Bad Jim, May 28 2008

       First guy to figure out God Mode on this will start shooting burger patties at the customers, then wade in with frozen french fries for some melee bloodletting.   

       Let the McGibbing begin!
elhigh, May 28 2008

       Online gamers usually wander around exploring the territory.   

       The hungry person, having ordered his - whatever personalised filling/topping/garnish combination that has taken his fancy at the moment - will be rewarded with the sight of robots scurrying around all sorts of unnecessary places before completing assembing his order.   

       And then, sometimes, might engage in combat with some other robot. Just because.
neelandan, May 29 2008

       If the general consensus is that this should be under the Public: Evil category then I shall move it.   

       I am under the impression that the quirky behavior of the robots would end up being more of a conversation topic at the water cooler than it would cause for anger, but I could be wrong.   

       I am a little suprised though, I figured this idea would fare better than the others ...   

       Hey [Jutta], how about a "Restuarant : Evil" category? and while I'm whining, How about some Military categories too?
MikeD, May 29 2008

       [neelandan], there needs to be some way of mapping normal gamer behaviour onto normal fast food restaurant robot behaviour, such that the necessary tasks be performed. For instance, wandering about doing very little interaction could be mapped onto taking orders, food preparation or whatever the most labour-intensive part of the job is. Presumably, the likes of McDonalds have screeds of information on this, and Blizzard on the other side. I have in mind two pie charts with time spent doing various different tasks on them, which can be correlated appropriately. There would seem to be an AI issue here, but if they can be broken down finely enough there may still be a way.   

       Then again, maybe it could be like the original Quake, with intelligent monsters corresponding to the McRobots and other robots fighting them to prevent the order being filled, so it's the unwitting job of the gamers to frustrate the customers. That would make it even more evil.
nineteenthly, May 29 2008

       afk, bio
Laughs Last, May 30 2008

       Funny, I'm not sure why 'evil' has entered into any of this.   

       Maybe I just have lost my sense of morality.   

       For some reason this all reminds me of Ender's Game... I know there are restaurant simulation games out there... all the motivation / action / reward remapping wouldn't need to be complex if the actual actions stayed the same.   

       Technically remapping data is a pretty complex task.. I suspect the given suggestions might get it 80% of the way there, but the devil is in the details...
mylodon, May 31 2008

       Ender's Game, you know...for food.
4whom, May 31 2008

       //Maybe I just have lost my sense of morality//   

       My father used to tell me terrible stories about cultures that *didn't* base thier ethics on the possibilities for capital gain.   


       I never once thought they were true ... until now.
MikeD, May 31 2008

       If you have a program sophisticated enough to generate such a system effectively, you might as well make the robots fully automated.
apocalyps956, Jun 02 2008

       I do like the idea of trying to harness the many meaningless hours of effort expended by gamers to some activity which might make the world a better place, or somehow turn a profit. I despair of using little R2D2s for this sort of thing, because they are expensive, and too many people want too much to kick them over.
bungston, Jun 02 2008

       [4whom] I thought of Ender's Game too.
Ozone, Jun 03 2008

       heheh I remember this one, still [+]
FlyingToaster, Nov 08 2009

       link added
sninctown, Nov 08 2009

       My favorite idea, <sniff>, churned. <wipes tear from corner of eye>.
MikeD, Nov 08 2009

       Oh man.. Imagine the trolls in that game... FOOD FIGHT!!!!
Joolin, Nov 08 2009

       This is terribly clever, but I'm worried that the gamers would catch on.
RayfordSteele, Mar 17 2010


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