The Pizza Story


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“Unemployment among robots is holding at zero percent.

Humans are not doing as well”

The Pizza Story

In our new book Minds at Work, we talk about the older labor-intensive economy in which we made things and needed to manage hands, and the newer mind-intensive economy in which we produce work with our minds and need to manage minds.

Automation creates a future in which there are no hands left to manage.

To bring that point  home, we have the pizza story.

This Makes it Personal.

When you walk in it seems like any other pizzeria. You sit, you order, you talk and drink your drink and wait.

In the kitchen in Palo Alto in the heart of Silicon Valley, the team at Zume Pizza goes to work. Pepe and Giorgio squirt on the sauce, and Marta spreads it in concentric circles, just like they do in Italy. Then Bruno puts the pizza in the oven to bake to perfection. And they do not stop for a moment to catch their breath.  That’s because Pepe, Giorgio, Marta, and Bruno are co-bots (robots). And while human employees still apply the toppings according to the customer’s wishes, it’s only a matter of time before they cede that role, too. Co-bots will soon be robots. Made-to-order, ready-to-go, fully automated pizza in as little as seven minutes: As the owners are proud of saying, it’s “artisanal robotic pizza.”

When there are no hands to manage, what’s left.

Postscript: When we originally came across this story and added it to the book Minds at Work, there were only 4 co-bots working at Zume. Since then they’ve added Vincenzo. Then they opened a second pizzeria with 4 more co-bots.

That means that the unemployment rate for robots is zero.

btw, that’s a selfie of Bruno at the top of this post …

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