A guy on broadcast radio is talking about obsolescence?
John Curley, the presenter of Evening Magazine? I can't think of anyone whose opinions I'm less interested in learning. And they gave him a talk radio show? Bizarre. I wonder if this is a ploy for blogttention.
Sign the petition to tell John Curley to prove he's not a robot

After all, there have already been plenty of radio station staff replaced by robots:…’s-dark-future-begins-today
You realize these are unskilled labor positions that require very little training and you can replace lost employees at the drop of a hat right? Why don't you fuckers start paying your goddamn interns?!
Oh lordy, lordy, lordy, we all knew there was at least one s**t-for-brains nimrod who listened to douchebagging ultra-neocon, and moronic John Curley, but no one was certain who it was?

Now we know, it's Dom Holden at The Stranger.

Curley must have a hard-on to realize the name of his one listener.

Geez, Holden, why the eff would you bother listening to that douchetard?

Say, Holden, are you that guy who calls his show every few weeks and makes that weird-ass Gay comment on the air?
@6, wait, I thought you said Dom was the only listener -- and yet you know who the regular callers are. Hmm.
stop being such a retard; robots are gonna replace these workers no mater what. the humans are fucked.
John Curley's an asshole and he's always been an asshole. Enough said.
John Curley is now a Sammamish City Councilmember. He left Evening Magazine a while ago.
To be honest, I don't really understand why many fast food places have cashiers. Since it's been button pushing for the past 30 years, why not just have customers place their own orders and have people in the back doing order fulfillment? Or do the fast food corps have an even lower assessment of their customers' intelligence than I do?
Wasn't there some scandal that ended his career as Evening Magazine host? Or did he somehow weather that storm?
Where do all these old conservatives keep coming from? Every time you think we're in the clear...
@11 A good deal of it is customer relations. Grandma sure as hell isn't going to figure out how to use the vending-machine-like interface, so you've lost her $4. And when Mrs. Soccermom screws up her son's order and gets no pickels, extra onions, instead of no onions extra pickels, she needs a real-life human being to yell at so that she can fell like she's in control of something, and more important than someone.

I wouldn't be surprised if fast food restaurants switched to the self-checkout supermarket style, where there is one overworked employee monitoring sixish terminals, however.
Is there really enough skill here to be a $15 an hour job, 9-10 I could see but 15?
@15, when CEOs earning millions a year are called upon to account for their companies' misdeeds, they say "I didn't know anything about it." How about their skills?

Whatever anyone does, if their duties need to be done, they deserve a living wage. Not millions of dollars because no one is that skilled, but a living wage -- one which allows them to pay rent and buy food.

That's a fine rhetorical question.
The predictable load of B.S. that sarah70 comes up with is in line with all of her other whining puke.
Even at $15 an hour I can guarantee that fast food employees are a lot cheaper than robots. Why do you think everything from Happy Meal toys to iPhones are assembled by hand? Robots have huge research and startup costs.

Plus there is a reason why even fast food restaurants cook on site rather than shipping everything cooked and simply turbo-chefing it before serving it. Because food that comes out of a turbo-chef tastes like food that came out of a turbo-chef. Fast food has to maintain higher quality than microwave dinners or everyone will just buy microwave dinners.
@11: clearly you've never been to a Jack in the Box on 99.
Somewhere in the line there has to be a human to clean out the grease clogs in the French fry robots.
Curley is really, really stupid. Frank Burns stupid. Judge Smails stupid.

Evidently he decided the Sammamish City Council didn't sufficiently appreciate his talent, and just stopped going to meetings.
I'm surprised KIRO has not already replaced John Curley with a robot.
His lib/progressive co-host (Andrew Walsh) is worth listening to...

There's an awful lot of factory pre-processing that goes into fast food before it's frozen and shipped to the franchises. The only real difference between their "kitchen" and your microwave is that they've got a deep fryer and a grill ready to roll all day, and you don't.

I think the comments here are both overestimating the cost of automating fast food, and seriously underestimating the amount of R&D that fast food companies have already put into doing it.

The question no-one wants to ask is this: why aren't we doing everything we can to increase both the percentage of labor replaced by automation, and the fraction of the population that doesn't need to work at all?

We've already got a small number of people in the US who don't have to work (you know, the 1%). Why aren't we doing all we can to free more people from the necessity of labor?
John Curley cut in front of me in line at the McDonald's at 45th and Meridian and acted like his sheer charisma made the obvious breach of citizenly behavior okay.

his charming snarky appeal ended for me that day.

Wait. There's no McDonald's at 45th and Meridian? how about the state liquor store across the street?

it's KIRO. what do you expect? they have fucking Dory Monson on there. douchebags are their bread and butter.
I'm not an economist, but I do occasionally read stuff written by economists. As near as I can figure, raising the minimum wage, for everybody, would actually be a good thing.

Economies are complicated. The simplistic argument that raising wages will result in fewer jobs is pure nonsense. We're largely a consumer-market-driven economy. Put more money in the hands of consumers, and economic activity and GDP rises.

Take a look at rising "worker productivity" numbers. This is basically a statistic that shows how underpaid workers are. Take a look at how corporations are faring, with record profits. Minimum-wage workers are a trivial portion of their expenses.

There are multipliers built into our economy. At the most basic level, there's the Fed's Discount Window. A bank with one dollar can loan it out, borrow against it at the window, loan out most of it again, etc., some number of times over. Far from impoverishing major employers of consumer goods/foods, a raise in the minimum wage would actually expand their market, raise the number of people buying their shitty products and the frequency thereof, and raise their profits.

Then, there's the stock market, which values stocks on the basis of cash flow. Create more cash flow, raise more money to create more cash flow, etc.

It's not a zero-sum game, and people who believe that are very short-sighted. It's more of a speed regulator on a complicated piece of machinery. Turn the little dial and the whole place speeds up.


The technical economist term for "the whole place speeds up" is "inflation" (defined as increase in prices, including labor prices).

And yes, we could certainly use a little more inflation right now. Particularly wage inflation (and across the board, not just at the very lowest level).

But twisting the little dial further and further tends to be a really, really bad idea, after a certain point.
When was Curley not a knob-polishing corporate PR douchebag?

Not ever?
@28 We haven't been anywhere near that certain point for a few decades now.

When I moved to NYC, the rent-stabilized, one-bedroom 14th St. Manhattan apartment I moved into was $150/month and the minimum wage was around $3. There were shittier apartments available for even less money. You could actually live on minimum wage, and even support a partner. Sounds like a fairy tale, today.

(CPI-U is complete bullshit when you take into account rising minimum real-world housing prices.)

People, even young people (and an awful lot of minimum-wage workers are not young, or single), deserve to be able to support themselves. It's in everybody's interest for that to happen.
That forgotten pube on a toilet seat? John Curley?

Forget him. Everyone else has.
24 is correct. Giant companies like Mickey D's have been perfecting automation in the back of the house for many years now. The kitchen in a relatively recent Taco Bell more closely resembles the weapons bay of a starship than your home kitchen, or even a small restaurant kitchen. Labor is far more expensive than automation once you achieve this economy of scale.

The front of the house will remain in human hands for many years yet. The more the back is automated the more important it is to maintain the illusion of the human touch in the front. Plus which, somebody's gotta clean the machinery after the restaurant closes.

If you don't like it, there's a simple solution: don't eat there. I will never again eat at Mickey D's after learning what's in that food.
Who is John Curley? Actually, who gives a shit?
Why don't you fuckers start paying your goddamn interns?!

But they do pay: in smugness credits.
34 comments! Awesome. More John Curley tomorrow! More bitching! More snark! I don't know if I'm becoming more dumb or more smart by the second! Curly! Curly fries! Curly Moe Larry! You know who I bet likes the Three Stooges!? John "Tomato Man" Curly!
While I certainly agree minimum wage should be $15 an hour, there are some low wage jobs that I think should be done by robots.

E.g. Walmart greeter, preferably a punchable one. It'd be cheap too, just a roomba with a bit of reprogramming, speaker and one of those blow up punching clowns fixed on top.

Having personally dealt with John Curley on the charity auction circuit (which he used to dominate), I can attest to his douchebaggery. And homophobic to boot. Who the fuck cares what he thinks?

People, even young people (and an awful lot of minimum-wage workers are not young, or single), deserve to be able to support themselves.

See, this is exactly what I was trying to address in @24. Why do feel that your fellow citizens "deserve" the opportunity to submit to a somewhat more comfortable form of wage-bondage, when you could, given our present capacity for automation, instead feel that your fellow citizens deserve to live the bulk of their lives with little to no labor obligation at all?
No offense guys, there's probably a robot that can generate this whole variety of comments. In fact I kind of enjoy the really robotic sounding comments. Like @37 you're story is sweet, but it's easy for me to imagine a robot said it. Or like me, I've said the word robot too many times in this comment. Hello? Red Flag?

No worries, that's just your basic generation-letter-after-W solipsist worldview at work. Everyone else acts like a supporting character or an extra in the movie you're accidentally starring in. Or at least it seems that way most of the time, right?
Frakking skinjob!

Nice. What's that line from one of the early "Scary Movie"s? I forget the context.
I'm currently about 2/3 of the way through Vonnegut's 'Player Piano' and it's so fucking good and so exactly much about all of this, I could just poop. Seriously, everybody go out and pick that shit up tomorrow (Friday, that is) then get back to me next weekend with your thoughts. Thanks.
Let's see John Curly exist on what fast food workers get per hour.
Can you think of one broadcaster who could more easily be replaced by a robot? Seriously.
Curley is a complete fuck monkey. Plus he looks like Chandler on Friends.
This company has a burger making robot that custom grinds the meat, cooks the burger, toasts the bun, fresh slices the toppings, etc. Automated fast food robots aren't a question of if but when.
Why are we paying any heed whatsoever to the smirky words of some douchebag radio dj?
@7, fnarfart, negative, sonny,

The one time and only one time I happened upon that curley show, he mentioned that the same guy is frequently calling with the same line.

Nice, pathetic, convoluted try, though, douchey!
He's right. Raise the cost of human labor and firms will increasingly replace it with automation. As an example, look at this warehouse in Belgium where labor is expensive. You won't find a lot of warehouses like this in the states because human labor is less expensive here.…

It's an economic fact that when you raise the cost of one input, such as labor, firms will look to replace it, such as with automation.
@23 Yes, Andrew Walsh is terrific and would do so great with Any Other Cohost. But Curley's terribleness is so great, it kills Walsh's listenability.
@38 Well, unless you're going to put a per-unit tax on robots and use that as stipends for the unemployed, your argument fails in mid-air. If people can't support themselves, then the government of a thriving economy that runs on substantial amounts of robot labor is going to need to support them.

Unless...? You weren't proposing death camps or Soylent Green, were you?!
Wait, John Curley was promoted to radio?
@23, agreed, Andrew Walsh is fun and interesting to listen to.
I heard him do a show on his own once and thoroughly enjoyed his take on things. He doesn't seem hung up on himself, which is refreshing.
@1 FTW

Anybody who hasn't worked a fast-food minimum-wage job should shut the fuck up about the "actual" value of the labor.

Can't say I've been in a Jack in the Box in 20 years.
It's not the job/skill that carries value, it's the worker's time that is of real value. But we've done it to ourselves with the demise of organized labor. Kudos to the brave fast food workers for their efforts to reverse the tide.
Time for McDonald's to host a design competition of 80/20 extruded frames and servos

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