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Mcdonald’s explores automated store, so our dystopian future is one step closer

McDonald's newest endeavor is a super-sized mistake

Well, it’s finally happened, folks. At long last, robots have officially taken over. No, they didn’t come for our cars, our computers, or our homes. They’ve come for our cheeseburgers.

Last month, in Fort Worth, Texas, McDonald’s launched their first automated, no-humans-required, soulless and lovin’ it restaurant, and people have feelings.

In a Tik-Tok posted on December 24th, user @jbarbeezy enters a fully automated Mcdonald’s restaurant, run entirely by machines — not a single beating heart in sight. The video starts with @jbarbeezy completely flabbergasted, saying, “Guys, you won’t believe this. They don’t even have anybody here. I had to order through a kiosk.” She then pans over to an empty counter with a sign that simply reads, “We apologize that cashiers are currently unavailable.” She continues speaking, but to her TikTok audience alone, “So, like, no humans work here, just machines. What’s happening?”

The video, while slightly humorous, is more than a little bit chilling. The absence of even one human being working in a fully functioning restaurant seems oddly and coldly futuristic, and the response has been widely unsettled.

The Fort Worth location is testing out the automated technology via its new Order Ahead Lane, a separate Drive Thru in which customers order ahead of arrival and receive the food via a conveyor belt. The store itself has a smaller footprint because it’s designed for customers who plan to eat at home or on the go.

Keith Vanecek, franchise owner of the test store claims, “The technology in this restaurant not only allows us to serve our customers in new, innovative ways, it gives our restaurant team the ability to concentrate more on order speed and accuracy, which makes the experience more enjoyable for everyone.” But we’re not quite as optimistic.

This experiment couldn’t seem to come at a worse time, as those working low-wage positions are already struggling to make ends meet. Now, these jobs are in jeopardy of being dissolved altogether. Frighteningly, it doesn’t stop there. These automated systems are picking up steam in industries across the board. From warehouse workers to cleaners to truck drivers, too many jobs are on the line due to this new robotic threat. Experts are predicting that millions of jobs could potentially be at risk, with more than 80% of restaurant jobs on the line.

While we’re all for progression and moving along with the tides of time, there are some things that are simply ridiculous, and living in a cartoonish parody of The Jetsons is not our idea of moving forward. Sorry McDonald’s, we’re not lovin’ it.

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Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
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