Flippy the Burger bot

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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Zaune » 2017-03-18 05:34pm

Starglider wrote:No, consumers demand it. Butchers are still available, branded as organo-artisinal-ograsmo-sustanainbly-locally-bespoke premium hipster food. It's just that the majority of shoppers prefer the cheaper, more convenient options.

Snark aside, when it comes to some high-end products there really is value in being able to inspect it in person and consult with a knowledgeable sales rep face to face for when you have special requirements, or just want a higher quality product and are willing to pay a premium for it. English supermarket bacon is one example that springs to mind.

General Zod wrote:I don't see myself ever becoming comfortable enough to let a robot pick my food like that. It's like buying clothes online; everything looks nice on paper but once you try it on the material feels horrible against your skin.

For fresh produce I can see where you're coming from, but for dry goods, or tinned and frozen food it doesn't matter so much.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby General Zod » 2017-03-18 05:36pm

Which is probably why I specified meats and produce in my previous post.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Starglider » 2017-03-18 05:42pm

K. A. Pital wrote:Don't try to fool others by saying "the majority prefers". They have no choice - their purchasing power is too low to afford high-quality products on a daily basis.


Median income in the United States is easily high enough to afford as much traditionally butchered meat as one could reasonably eat, and numerous other products that would be considered luxurious in developing nations. The reason that most people don't spend their income in this way is the same reason why the US favours giant stick-built McMansions or ranch houses on 95% mortgages over masonry cottages on 50% mortgages, or leased 2.5 tonne SUVs over purchased 1 tonne hatchbacks; a preference for quantity and immediacy over quality and ownership. The preference is generated by relentless advertising, but still, it is generally an individual choice.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-03-18 07:14pm

TithonusSyndrome wrote:
Broomstick wrote:There's more to the whole store thing than simply obtaining goods - many people feel a need to get out of the house. Many people like to look at and even touch items prior to buying, particularly produce.
This is a sentimentally twee narrative that nobody cares about. There are countless lost rituals in our society that were once considered vital and helpful that were abandoned as soon as some new convenience obviated them. We've proven time and time again that we are not that attached to these little ceremonies.
The geek fantasy of us all spending all our time in tiny room hunched over a keyboard and having everything we need delivered to our doors is appealing to only a small fraction of the human race.
Then do it on your phone? Maybe while you're out talking a walk in a place that is actually purpose-built for enjoyable strolls, like a park or the woods? I don't know a single person who talks about going to the grocery store with this kind of bucolic warmth. It's bizarre.
It's not the grocery store as such that's the issue, it's the cumulative effect of eliminating all the reasons to go anywhere in person and concluding "by twenty-umpty-ump, there will be virtually no reason to step outside your door, telepresence and delivery by drone will be more efficient."

Broomstick is, I think, reasonable to extrapolate forwards that this is an issue. A lot of people do, on some level, enjoy having reasons to get out of the house, even if the reason is mundane. Quite a lot of people are susceptible to cabin fever, and many have a genuine need for interaction with other people, outside the narrow group they reside with plus Internet friends.

At the same time, I would also argue that you're right to say that people will ignore the issue, once the external compulsion to step outside the home for a given reason is "obviated" by technology. Just like many people stopped taking long walks with the rise of the automobile, and stopped doing as much manual labor once that got automated too, and stopped cooking their own food once it was easy to get tasty processed food instead of preparing from raw ingredients.

The consequence, of course, is mass physical problems, due to people neglecting physical health needs because it's more convenient to eat junk food and avoid exercise.

By the same token, if you do turn out to be right that people will stop getting out of the house to run errands when we shift to this "deliver everything" paradigm... We can foresee mass psychological problems due to people neglecting mental health needs because it's more convenient to avoid physical contact with other people.

That won't happen just because of grocery stores, but it'll still happen.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Zaune » 2017-03-18 07:53pm

And yet people still do take long walks instead of driving because the exercise and change of scenery has many physical and mental health benefits, or cook their own food from raw ingredients because processed food trades convenience for quality of nutrition and quality of taste, or go out and meet with their friends at the bar or the park or wherever (as far as reasonably practical) instead of just hanging out online.

I'm not denying that the problem exists; hell, I of all people know what a double-edged sword the convenience of easily accessible food delivery can be, I think I've gained a stone in weight as a direct consequence of bookmarking JustEat.co.uk. But it's not like most people aren't at least dimly aware that these behaviours are unhealthy and they should really try to avoid or change them. (And yes, being aware of the problem and having the self-discipline to actually do something about it are very different things, but it's a start.)
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby TithonusSyndrome » 2017-03-18 09:29pm

General Zod wrote:I don't see myself ever becoming comfortable enough to let a robot pick my food like that. It's like buying clothes online; everything looks nice on paper but once you try it on the material feels horrible against your skin.


I'm not talking about letting a robot pick anything willy-nilly, or anything being "on paper", I'm talking about instructing a robot to find a piece of meat whose physical characteristics match your stated preferences in every measurable, meaningful way. Do you think there's a single characteristic a piece of meat has that you have strong preferences about which couldn't be assessed by a spectrograph?

Simon_Jester wrote:The consequence, of course, is mass physical problems, due to people neglecting physical health needs because it's more convenient to eat junk food and avoid exercise.

By the same token, if you do turn out to be right that people will stop getting out of the house to run errands when we shift to this "deliver everything" paradigm... We can foresee mass psychological problems due to people neglecting mental health needs because it's more convenient to avoid physical contact with other people.

That won't happen just because of grocery stores, but it'll still happen.


This is far, far too reminiscent of the rhetoric of 19th century anti-labor campaigners. "What would the workers do with all that free time?!? You're lucky you have these seemingly dreary tasks to fill your days!"

If people have become so acclimated to a particular mode of living such that they don't realize that the constellation of tasks and obligations they've grown up with aren't part of some natural, ordained order of existence, and don't have sense enough to find social fulfillment through more expressly prosocial activity with their newfound free time, I would still insist that the answer is not the status quo.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby General Zod » 2017-03-18 10:53pm

TithonusSyndrome wrote:I'm not talking about letting a robot pick anything willy-nilly, or anything being "on paper", I'm talking about instructing a robot to find a piece of meat whose physical characteristics match your stated preferences in every measurable, meaningful way. Do you think there's a single characteristic a piece of meat has that you have strong preferences about which couldn't be assessed by a spectrograph?


Sometimes I don't know what I'm in the mood for until I see it. Mostly I resent the idea that a machine would know what I like better than me so this isn't a purely logical response.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Raw Shark » 2017-03-18 11:03pm

I'm going to have to go on the same page as Wacky Neighbor for once on this one. When I go to the store, I generally have a couple things that I need, and then I'll walk around for another 30 minutes or so and buy another week's worth of food with my walkin'- round cash that the average African would kill a man for.

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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Broomstick » 2017-03-18 11:25pm

TithonusSyndrome wrote:This is a sentimentally twee narrative that nobody cares about. There are countless lost rituals in our society that were once considered vital and helpful that were abandoned as soon as some new convenience obviated them. We've proven time and time again that we are not that attached to these little ceremonies.

Which of us work at a grocery store, hmmm?

We have regulars - daily or weekly - who come to our store just to walk around and interact with people. Why our store? Well, for one thing we have some strategically located benches that the infirm can sit down and rest on, which is an attraction to them and makes them feel welcome. We're open 24/7, which means in winter there are a few homeless people who come in to keep warm - as long as they're not obnoxious we tolerate them. Some folks come here because the local mass transit stops here - it does NOT stop at the parks, by the way. Other just drive up and park because they're retired and our store is the place they get face-to-face interaction.

And I suspect some of those "abandoned" rituals you speak of are not as abandoned as you think.

The geek fantasy of us all spending all our time in tiny room hunched over a keyboard and having everything we need delivered to our doors is appealing to only a small fraction of the human race.

Then do it on your phone? Maybe while you're out talking a walk in a place that is actually purpose-built for enjoyable strolls, like a park or the woods?

See above - mass transit in my area does not stop at parks. It does stop at malls and big box stores. The buses from "assisted living" facilities do not stop at parks, they stop at malls, big box stores, and casinos.

Stores are climate controlled - that can be important to the elderly and/or infirm.

There's also that nasty recent business about two girls being murdered on a local nature trail - seems stores and malls have better security than nature.

And, frankly, more people need to put the fucking phone down and look where they're going. They're goddamned hazards whether driving or walking,

I don't know a single person who talks about going to the grocery store with this kind of bucolic warmth. It's bizarre.

Don't know any elderly people? Yeah, I remember when I was young, too...
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-03-18 11:58pm

Yeah. I get that some people like the idea that "in the future everything will be super-convenient, you won't even need to leave home" that's probably where you got all that stuff like food pills in '50s fiction portrayals. Or decades before that, the idea that humans would naturally evolve into giant brain-monsters with vestigial bodies because 20s speculative fiction writers were really, really bad at understanding evolution.

But aggressively denying that this is an issue, or that some people feel differently, seems kind of pointless to me.

Plus, there's a certain irony in hearing a promotion of the idea that there's nothing wrong with giving people more and more of the convenience they naturally tend to reach for, and no need to worry about side effects... From a guy who's screenname is pretty clearly derived from a mythological figure who received something most people would think of as a desirable improvement to the human condition (eternal life) only for it to turn into a curse (because eternal life isn't eternal youth, and he aged).

Hell yes giving people a boon that almost everyone willingly accepts can have bad side effects. Effects that, at a bare minimum, need to be accounted for and planned for in advance so they can be counteracted before they spiral out of control.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby bilateralrope » 2017-03-19 12:18am

TithonusSyndrome wrote:Install cameras, heat sensors, spectrographs, etc at the depot and inspect food items remotely. It'll only be a matter of time before these things are cheap enough to make and install up to a particular standard that the finances shake out.


Tracking each individual piece of produce so that the item viewed is the same one that shows up at the customers door means more complicated, and thus more expensive, logistics. How do you think supermarkets will be convinced to pay for that increased cost ?

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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-03-19 12:34am

Plus, I for one am not trained to use a spectrograph to inspect a piece of fruit, so if someone else tells me "the spectrograph readings say XYZ!" that doesn't do me a lot of good. I'd need to inspect it personally to know if it's ripe or not. I could trust the robot to do it for me in theory, but then I'm stuck trying to ask a robot to pick 'almost but not quite fully ripe oranges' or something.

At some point the level of complexity and vagueness required in what people want from their food becomes the enemy of the process. It's not the same as McDonald's, at least not when it comes to produce and meat, even if most people wouldn't have a problem getting their paper towels or bottled soda this way.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby TithonusSyndrome » 2017-03-19 12:44am

Broomstick wrote:We have regulars - daily or weekly - who come to our store just to walk around and interact with people. Why our store? Well, for one thing we have some strategically located benches that the infirm can sit down and rest on, which is an attraction to them and makes them feel welcome. We're open 24/7, which means in winter there are a few homeless people who come in to keep warm - as long as they're not obnoxious we tolerate them. Some folks come here because the local mass transit stops here - it does NOT stop at the parks, by the way. Other just drive up and park because they're retired and our store is the place they get face-to-face interaction.


If you need to use a supermarket as an ersatz homeless shelter or social supplement for the elderly, you live in a miserably dysfunctional society that has nothing better than square pegs for round holes. Just because your status quo is a patchwork of uneven ad hoc solutions in one place doesn't mean that someone solving another problem in another area should be interpreted as an attack on the solutions in your region of interest; the fact that you don't see this as an opportunity to free up resources and improve the other side of the equation should probably prompt some reflection on your part.

And I suspect some of those "abandoned" rituals you speak of are not as abandoned as you think.


No shit, Amazon Fresh has only just broken into the market. These rituals aren't abandoned simply because there aren't widespread alternatives at the moment. Keep up.

There's also that nasty recent business about two girls being murdered on a local nature trail - seems stores and malls have better security than nature.

And, frankly, more people need to put the fucking phone down and look where they're going. They're goddamned hazards whether driving or walking,


Yeah, there'll be a right bloodbath of murders and distracted pedestrian accidents once all the grocery stores close... or maybe there won't be because those occurrences are statistically negligible in the context of this issue.

Don't know any elderly people? Yeah, I remember when I was young, too...


Progress occurs funeral by funeral in a lot of cases, and eventually the elderly will come to be a demographic at ease with things like ordering food online or having access to social public spaces not defined by commercial interests.

Simon_Jester wrote:Yeah. I get that some people like the idea that "in the future everything will be super-convenient, you won't even need to leave home" that's probably where you got all that stuff like food pills in '50s fiction portrayals. Or decades before that, the idea that humans would naturally evolve into giant brain-monsters with vestigial bodies because 20s speculative fiction writers were really, really bad at understanding evolution.

But aggressively denying that this is an issue, or that some people feel differently, seems kind of pointless to me.


I have gone on record as saying that this one thing will be broadly improved by having the industry move to a broadly online model. The food pill hyperbole has been a strawman of your invention.

Plus, there's a certain irony in hearing a promotion of the idea that there's nothing wrong with giving people more and more of the convenience they naturally tend to reach for, and no need to worry about side effects... From a guy who's screenname is pretty clearly derived from a mythological figure who received something most people would think of as a desirable improvement to the human condition (eternal life) only for it to turn into a curse (because eternal life isn't eternal youth, and he aged).


No, the real irony is enduring this wearying "gotcha" tone from some insufferable dimwit who doesn't realize that my screenname is a reference to a phrase describing the intellectually lazy moral panic that hack sci-fi and fantasy writers succumb to in their knee-jerk depictions of immortality as some kind of curse in disguise, usually to sate and muzzle the fear of death by transforming mortality into some perverse source of pride and meaning that requires no effort to attain.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby TithonusSyndrome » 2017-03-19 12:54am

bilateralrope wrote:
TithonusSyndrome wrote:Install cameras, heat sensors, spectrographs, etc at the depot and inspect food items remotely. It'll only be a matter of time before these things are cheap enough to make and install up to a particular standard that the finances shake out.


Tracking each individual piece of produce so that the item viewed is the same one that shows up at the customers door means more complicated, and thus more expensive, logistics. How do you think supermarkets will be convinced to pay for that increased cost ?


Sort produce in advance according to different specs acquired spectrographically, index the sorted fruit according to said specs, present customers with the range of fruit available in their desired range, then tag and track the advance-sorted produce in the normal way the customer's order would have to be tracked anyways. There's no need to go over and over a pile of fruit each time a new customer wants to order something.

Simon_Jester wrote:Plus, I for one am not trained to use a spectrograph to inspect a piece of fruit, so if someone else tells me "the spectrograph readings say XYZ!" that doesn't do me a lot of good. I'd need to inspect it personally to know if it's ripe or not. I could trust the robot to do it for me in theory, but then I'm stuck trying to ask a robot to pick 'almost but not quite fully ripe oranges' or something.


You don't honestly think I'm suggesting that consumers be presented with raw spectrographic data, do you? There are thousands of products you buy which have been measured using similarly sophisticated equipment, and in no such cases are you presented with consumer-level data that would be beyond a layman's ability to parse; instead, heuristic scales are devised to make nutritional or other consumer data accessible for potential buyers. Why would this be any different?
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby General Zod » 2017-03-19 01:03am

This sounds like a lot of work to solve a problem that doesn't exist.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby TithonusSyndrome » 2017-03-19 01:06am

It's only a "problem that doesn't exist" if you 1) don't realize how much ever-more-valuable urban area is being taken up by grocery outlets and the costs folded into food purchases that their upkeep entails or 2) completely missed the earlier conversation about theft in grocery chains.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Broomstick » 2017-03-19 01:16am

TithonusSyndrome wrote:If you need to use a supermarket as an ersatz homeless shelter or social supplement for the elderly, you live in a miserably dysfunctional society that has nothing better than square pegs for round holes.

Welcome. To. America.

1/3 of 1 billion people.

the fact that you don't see this as an opportunity to free up resources and improve the other side of the equation should probably prompt some reflection on your part.

I live in a society where, pretty consistently this past couple decades, "freed up resources" generally only go to the 1%.

Maybe YOU like a world where the norm is indistinguishable from house rest, quite a few of the rest of us don't.

And I suspect some of those "abandoned" rituals you speak of are not as abandoned as you think.

No shit, Amazon Fresh has only just broken into the market. These rituals aren't abandoned simply because there aren't widespread alternatives at the moment. Keep up.

No,YOU keep up. Grocery delivery used to be normal part of business, it was dirt common once upon a time - when I first moved to Chicago back in the 1980's all the local stores offered it. Further back it was a norm.

That paradigm was abandoned in favor of making the customer do all the work - hell, now a lot of them are convinced to act as their own cashier and bagger. Grocery owners are thrilled - more profit for them!

There's also that nasty recent business about two girls being murdered on a local nature trail - seems stores and malls have better security than nature.

And, frankly, more people need to put the fucking phone down and look where they're going. They're goddamned hazards whether driving or walking,

Yeah, there'll be a right bloodbath of murders and distracted pedestrian accidents once all the grocery stores close... or maybe there won't be because those occurrences are statistically negligible in the context of this issue.

More likely the less-than-perfect and the no-longer-young will huddle in their hovels. That how it usually shakes out.

Don't know any elderly people? Yeah, I remember when I was young, too...

Progress occurs funeral by funeral in a lot of cases, and eventually the elderly will come to be a demographic at ease with things like ordering food online or having access to social public spaces not defined by commercial interests.

And if they don't, fuck 'em, right? If grandma can't get over her so-called need to check the apples for firmness herself just fuck her, she'll take the on-line ordering and learn to like it, dammit!

How dare anyone not share your vision of the future, right?

I have gone on record as saying that this one thing will be broadly improved by having the industry move to a broadly online model.

Right, that's why Amazon would never open a brick-and-mortar store... oh wait...
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Broomstick » 2017-03-19 01:18am

TithonusSyndrome wrote:It's only a "problem that doesn't exist" if you 1) don't realize how much ever-more-valuable urban area is being taken up by grocery outlets and the costs folded into food purchases that their upkeep entails or 2) completely missed the earlier conversation about theft in grocery chains.

Oh HEAVENS! - People are building grocery stores in CITIES!!!!

Where the fuck did you think city people bought food in the past?

Also - what makes you think on-line ordering is impervious to theft? Let's see.... credit card fraud... stealing packages from peoples' porches...
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby TithonusSyndrome » 2017-03-19 01:44am

Broomstick wrote:
the fact that you don't see this as an opportunity to free up resources and improve the other side of the equation should probably prompt some reflection on your part.

I live in a society where, pretty consistently this past couple decades, "freed up resources" generally only go to the 1%.


So the solution to a system designed to funnel surplus value to the 1% is less efficient practices and systems. Brilliant. Break out the steam locomotives, Broomstick has found a way to stick it to the wealthy.

Maybe YOU like a world where the norm is indistinguishable from house rest, quite a few of the rest of us don't.


Yeah, that must be why I was advocating walking in parks and woods?

And I suspect some of those "abandoned" rituals you speak of are not as abandoned as you think.
No,YOU keep up. Grocery delivery used to be normal part of business, it was dirt common once upon a time - when I first moved to Chicago back in the 1980's all the local stores offered it. Further back it was a norm.


I didn't realize that self-driving cars and drones were part of the labor market in the 1980s? It didn't take off then so it can't take off in the near-future when the right tech is properly implemented, is that the argument?

More likely the less-than-perfect and the no-longer-young will huddle in their hovels. That how it usually shakes out.


Grocery deliverypersons and/or drones will cow the elderly into their houses under threat of... disrupted social schedules, I guess?

And if they don't, fuck 'em, right? If grandma can't get over her so-called need to check the apples for firmness herself just fuck her, she'll take the on-line ordering and learn to like it, dammit!


"And if they don't" they'll support a shrinking market for brick-and-mortar locations for as long as their demographic still exists, which will disappear when they do in a gradual manner, possibly over two decades at the very most. Your "YOU WANNA KILL GRANDMA" histrionics are boilerplate SDN moral outrage pantomime that is around a decade or so past due even if it wasn't so far off the mark.

How dare anyone not share your vision of the future, right?


I'm not that upset, to be honest; more than anything I'm sort of bewildered at your whole "shocked 1920's dowager" shtick in response to a model of business that would relieve said infirm and elderly from the tiring and difficult obligation of having to retrieve their groceries at an age where said obligation is not a casual undertaking, and casting it as some kind of campaign to terrorize them.

I have gone on record as saying that this one thing will be broadly improved by having the industry move to a broadly online model.

Right, that's why Amazon would never open a brick-and-mortar store... oh wait...


"Oh wait", where are all the self-driving delivery cars in common use upon which this new model of grocery delivery is premised? "Oh wait", I guess Amazon couldn't have opened this location out of an interest in cashing in on a medium-term business opportunity and/or chance to build their grocery brand in anticipation of self-driving cars. "Oh, wait", this is just Broomstick's incipient dementia coming into bloom.

Broomstick wrote:
TithonusSyndrome wrote:It's only a "problem that doesn't exist" if you 1) don't realize how much ever-more-valuable urban area is being taken up by grocery outlets and the costs folded into food purchases that their upkeep entails or 2) completely missed the earlier conversation about theft in grocery chains.

Oh HEAVENS! - People are building grocery stores in CITIES!!!!

Where the fuck did you think city people bought food in the past?


RARGH IM ANGRY BROOMSTICK I DONT READ

Well, I would wager that in "the past", people bought their groceries at brick and mortar locations because urban crowding hadn't escalated to the specific proportions it has now and because the introduction of new technology hadn't made revising the grocery delivery model a possibility. We've covered this three times or so now, but I guess we can keep doing it to see if you have any other variations on the shocked dowager thing.

Also - what makes you think on-line ordering is impervious to theft? Let's see.... credit card fraud... stealing packages from peoples' porches...


This is your favorite thing to do in these arguments; rattle off every possible counteracting factor without any regard for their magnitude, statistical likelihood or significance. Tell you what; you come up with some sources indicating that it's possible to defraud a grocery delivering website in similar proportion to the combined costs of shoplifting and employee theft, and I'll take this line of argument seriously. Shit, I might even stop calling you out on this silly dowager shtick of yours.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-03-19 03:12am

TithonusSyndrome wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:Plus, I for one am not trained to use a spectrograph to inspect a piece of fruit, so if someone else tells me "the spectrograph readings say XYZ!" that doesn't do me a lot of good. I'd need to inspect it personally to know if it's ripe or not. I could trust the robot to do it for me in theory, but then I'm stuck trying to ask a robot to pick 'almost but not quite fully ripe oranges' or something.
You don't honestly think I'm suggesting that consumers be presented with raw spectrographic data, do you? There are thousands of products you buy which have been measured using similarly sophisticated equipment, and in no such cases are you presented with consumer-level data that would be beyond a layman's ability to parse; instead, heuristic scales are devised to make nutritional or other consumer data accessible for potential buyers. Why would this be any different?
I'm sure a sufficiently elaborate system can be devised to allow me to make an online purchase of oranges with the specific degree of ripeness I desire, just as soon as we have a uniform scale of ripeness that everyone understands clearly, and as soon as the grocery stores decide it's actually worth the effort to buy robots with integrated scanning equipment that can assess the oranges instead of just grabbing them randomly.

Picking produce out isn't quite the same as ordering a pizza, because there's more to it than "I want olives on that." A lot of grocery shopping does reduce to "and I want olives on that," as I already said. But the parts that don't reduce that way so easily are going to take a lot more automation than the rest, and it is highly likely that people will simply eat (literally) a decline in quality due to not being able to inspect the products they're buying prior to arrival on their doorstep. Will everyone get used to it? Very possibly. But it's tiresome and willfully obtuse to pretend nothing is happening.

TithonusSyndrome wrote:
Broomstick wrote:We have regulars - daily or weekly - who come to our store just to walk around and interact with people. Why our store? Well, for one thing we have some strategically located benches that the infirm can sit down and rest on, which is an attraction to them and makes them feel welcome. We're open 24/7, which means in winter there are a few homeless people who come in to keep warm - as long as they're not obnoxious we tolerate them. Some folks come here because the local mass transit stops here - it does NOT stop at the parks, by the way. Other just drive up and park because they're retired and our store is the place they get face-to-face interaction.
If you need to use a supermarket as an ersatz homeless shelter or social supplement for the elderly, you live in a miserably dysfunctional society that has nothing better than square pegs for round holes. Just because your status quo is a patchwork of uneven ad hoc solutions in one place doesn't mean that someone solving another problem in another area should be interpreted as an attack on the solutions in your region of interest; the fact that you don't see this as an opportunity to free up resources and improve the other side of the equation should probably prompt some reflection on your part.
I'm with Broomstick on this one. Replacing the staff of a supermarket with drones that run around a more densely packed version of the same supermarket, plunking individual food items into bags, to be delivered by more drones to robot cars that deliver it to your doorstep, may "free up resources," but the resources in question aren't going to be used to any good effect unless other things change.

The labor thus displaced is very likely to go nowhere because we're in an economy where the labor market is shriveling up. Food prices are unlikely to decline much in real terms, and increased profits will tend to go straight to the people who own the supermarkets.

Making things more efficient in the abstract works in an economy that's configured to make sharing the wealth thus created possible. When the economy is not thus configured, it is ivory tower detachment of the worst kind to pretend that the consequences will be uniformly beneficial.

Simon_Jester wrote:Yeah. I get that some people like the idea that "in the future everything will be super-convenient, you won't even need to leave home" that's probably where you got all that stuff like food pills in '50s fiction portrayals. Or decades before that, the idea that humans would naturally evolve into giant brain-monsters with vestigial bodies because 20s speculative fiction writers were really, really bad at understanding evolution.

But aggressively denying that this is an issue, or that some people feel differently, seems kind of pointless to me.
I have gone on record as saying that this one thing will be broadly improved by having the industry move to a broadly online model. The food pill hyperbole has been a strawman of your invention.
No, it's an analogy. Remember those?

Progress comes with improvements and drawbacks. There have long been, and probably will continue to be, people who see only the improvements or only the drawbacks. The "we'll evolve into giant brains" crowd were ignoring drawbacks. So were the "food pill" idiots. Or any number of other groups of futurists who turned out to be amusingly wrong in hindsight.

I'm not even arguing that the improvements aren't there. I'm just opposed to this stance of aggressive denialism about the drawbacks.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby TheFeniX » 2017-03-19 03:26am

I'm not too sure where this convo is going but: Are people really this quick to forget the dotcom bubble busting?

The whole "order everything online, NEVER LEAVE YOUR HOUSE" was a huge part of that whole "Interwebs" bullshit. Maybe I don't want to wait 24-hours for a 6 pack of piss-water (Read: beer), some smokes, and a box of condoms. After all, it's only Saturday night once a week.

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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Broomstick » 2017-03-19 04:08am

TithonusSyndrome wrote:
Broomstick wrote:I live in a society where, pretty consistently this past couple decades, "freed up resources" generally only go to the 1%.

So the solution to a system designed to funnel surplus value to the 1% is less efficient practices and systems. Brilliant. Break out the steam locomotives, Broomstick has found a way to stick it to the wealthy.

No, the solution is to come up with a system that doesn't stick it to everyone BUT the wealthy. Or do you have the illusion that you will be part of the 1%? If you're posting here you aren't, those sorts aren't slumming down here with us.

Maybe YOU like a world where the norm is indistinguishable from house rest, quite a few of the rest of us don't.

Yeah, that must be why I was advocating walking in parks and woods?

Yeah, that's great - if you can get access to those parks and woods. That's what you seem too obtuse to understand.

And I suspect some of those "abandoned" rituals you speak of are not as abandoned as you think.
No,YOU keep up. Grocery delivery used to be normal part of business, it was dirt common once upon a time - when I first moved to Chicago back in the 1980's all the local stores offered it. Further back it was a norm.

I didn't realize that self-driving cars and drones were part of the labor market in the 1980s? It didn't take off then so it can't take off in the near-future when the right tech is properly implemented, is that the argument?

No, you fucking ignoramus - in the old days human beings would pick out groceries from phone orders and deliver them in a local area. You also willfully missed my point about it far pre-dating the 1980's. Through the first half of the 20th Century home delivery of items like milk, ice, and other staples were routine. The concept is nothing new. Then it was largely abandoned. Now suddenly you think it's a new invention. Guess what - the world is older than you are, your experience with the world short-lived, and some of us remember when what you describe as "new" was in fact a routine part of life.

Delivery of groceries is not a new concept. Doing with drones is a new technique, that's all. Stop patting yourself on the back congratulating yourself on reinventing the wheel.

And if they don't, fuck 'em, right? If grandma can't get over her so-called need to check the apples for firmness herself just fuck her, she'll take the on-line ordering and learn to like it, dammit!

"And if they don't" they'll support a shrinking market for brick-and-mortar locations for as long as their demographic still exists, which will disappear when they do in a gradual manner, possibly over two decades at the very most. Your "YOU WANNA KILL GRANDMA" histrionics are boilerplate SDN moral outrage pantomime that is around a decade or so past due even if it wasn't so far off the mark.

You mean like farmer's markets are a thing of the past... oh wait, if anything there are more now than 30 years ago.

Like I said - your experience with life is short. There are many many things that started to disappear but then came back because people missed them, or saw value in them. You haven't lived long enough to see this. You're like someone in the 1950's screaming food pills are the future! while completely lacking an understanding that food is more than just supplying nutrients.

Yes, I am pulling the I'm older and I know better line on you because in this case it's true - I'm older and I know better. Sure, grocery delivery with drones will become an OPTION, it will not wholly replace the grocery store any more than grocery stores eliminated farmer's markets or even the gas-station type quickie-mart.

The downside is that the poorer folks likely will have fewer or no options.

How dare anyone not share your vision of the future, right?

I'm not that upset, to be honest; more than anything I'm sort of bewildered at your whole "shocked 1920's dowager" shtick in response to a model of business that would relieve said infirm and elderly from the tiring and difficult obligation of having to retrieve their groceries at an age where said obligation is not a casual undertaking, and casting it as some kind of campaign to terrorize them.

Right, because it's better to give the elderly and infirm NO option, just leave them isolated in little cubes and leave some food at the door so they don't starve.

That's the problem - you don't see that there is in fact a benefit to such people getting out of the house and making their own choices, even if it's something as trivial as selecting which oranges they're going to buy that day. Or maybe making their choices in person, then having a drone deliver them to their home for them.

"Oh, wait", this is just Broomstick's incipient dementia coming into bloom.

Oh, look - someone has no argument so let's engage in ad hominem attacks.

Next time, try a valid debating tactic.

Broomstick wrote:Well, I would wager that in "the past", people bought their groceries at brick and mortar locations because urban crowding hadn't escalated to the specific proportions it has now and because the introduction of new technology hadn't made revising the grocery delivery model a possibility.

What, you think urban crowding is a new thing? Really? Aren't you precious - you think we were all living on farms 50 years ago?

In truly dense areas - say, New York City - grocery stores can be and are incorporated into the same skyscrapers everything else is. They don't have to be a stand-alone structure.

As already noted - home delivery of groceries used to be both common and routine. Granted, it was done by people rather than robots but the concept is nothing new.

Also - what makes you think on-line ordering is impervious to theft? Let's see.... credit card fraud... stealing packages from peoples' porches...

This is your favorite thing to do in these arguments; rattle off every possible counteracting factor without any regard for their magnitude, statistical likelihood or significance.

Uh... yeah. I thought coming up with opposing arguments was the whole point of having a debate.

Tell you what; you come up with some sources indicating that it's possible to defraud a grocery delivering website in similar proportion to the combined costs of shoplifting and employee theft, and I'll take this line of argument seriously.

Since I'm not a hacker I don't have a bunch of hacker buddies to clue me in on technique, but it was well broadcast last Christmas that package thefts are on the rise, with people watching for deliveries then stealing them off porches. I don't see why employees of a company that does home delivers - even with drones - couldn't be involved in theft. Granted there would be fewer such employees to have an opportunity, but you don't need a small army to steal packages.

Shit, I might even stop calling you out on this silly dowager shtick of yours.

Yeah about that - do you know what "dowager" means?

How about you NOT call me a widow until AFTER my husband is dead? Might be a little courteous. Especially since most likely you'll only have to wait about two weeks to a month before that's actually the case, asshole. Since you might not be aware that my husband is, in fact, in his last weeks I'll give you a pass on that up to now but STOP CALLING ME A WIDOW UNTIL I ACTUALLY AM ONE, FUCKHEAD.
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Gandalf » 2017-03-19 04:21am

After a rough day, the comedy styles of Broomstick fail to disappoint.

Broomstick wrote:
TithonusSyndrome wrote:It's only a "problem that doesn't exist" if you 1) don't realize how much ever-more-valuable urban area is being taken up by grocery outlets and the costs folded into food purchases that their upkeep entails or 2) completely missed the earlier conversation about theft in grocery chains.

Oh HEAVENS! - People are building grocery stores in CITIES!!!!

Where the fuck did you think city people bought food in the past?


I'm unfamiliar with the ivory tower in which you live, but real estate in many cities is becoming more expensive as rural communities and some suburbs are less viable and the people move back to cities in search of jobs and viable living. Thousands of square metres worth of fuckoff huge supermarkets, every two or three suburbs could be put to better usage as housing for people who might like to live within an hour or two of their jobs. This is where an obligatory joke about baby boomer governance should probably go.

That's why I like to get my groceries delivered from a local distribution hub. We have a finite amount of free time each week, so why waste it wandering aisles full of products in which I have no interest?
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby General Zod » 2017-03-19 05:17am

Here's the other problem with drones. What happens in an emergency? Say a severe blizzard is coming up; are there going to be enough drones to keep everyone stocked up before the blizzard hits in a reasonable amount of time? Will some people just be screwed when they could have otherwise gone to the store?
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Re: Flippy the Burger bot

Postby Broomstick » 2017-03-19 08:03am

Gandalf wrote:I'm unfamiliar with the ivory tower in which you live, but real estate in many cities is becoming more expensive as rural communities and some suburbs are less viable and the people move back to cities in search of jobs and viable living. Thousands of square metres worth of fuckoff huge supermarkets, every two or three suburbs could be put to better usage as housing for people who might like to live within an hour or two of their jobs.

So... people are moving into the cities proper, but you think knocking down grocery stores and building housing an hour or two from where people are moving to live is somehow going to solve this problem?

Are you going to force city people to move to that housing?

If those suburbs were viable places to live wouldn't people be moving there instead of deeper into the cities.

That's why I like to get my groceries delivered from a local distribution hub. We have a finite amount of free time each week, so why waste it wandering aisles full of products in which I have no interest?

No one is saying you can't have that option - the problem is in taking away options from everyone else.

Back in the day, as I noted, you could have your groceries picked out and/or delivered. You didn't have to waste your precious time shopping back then, either.

Meanwhile, some people DO want to spend some of their free time shopping in brick-and-mortar. Why are you opposed to them making that choice?

Probably notable is that it seems to be mostly women who want to wander the aisles making their selections. A slice of humanity in the notable minority in this thread.
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Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

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