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Comments on Hyperactive Bob Fast Food Management Robot
Terrifying short story comes to life; everyone who works for someone else should read this story. (Read the complete story)

"This is exactly how they get store orders stacked up in Wal-Mart Distribution Centers. When they come in, orderfillers don their headsets and climb on their power equipment (battery powered, two pallet fork trucks) and the computer assigns them a trip. This trip is made up of some number of slot assignments and when you arrive at a slot, you call off a three-digit check number to verify you are at the right slot. Then the headset tells you how many cases to pick and you stack it all up. This continues at each successive slot until the trip is done. At that point, you get another trip. To be successful at this (and also earn bonus money,) you have to time manage at the level of seconds. Every time you turn your head to recheck a slot number or you have to wait for another orderfiller, you have to earn those seconds back by working faster. If your pallets tip over, you have to pick them up and you have to earn that time back . You do get down time for equipment problems and breaks, but the minutes of travel time to and from the break room has to be earned back. The situation described in the robot-run restaurant sounded just like what Wal-mart orderfillers do every day. Every second is accounted for. And there are cameras almost everywhere (parking lot, cash registers, hallways, entrances and exits and in the aisles where the orderfillers work.) This might make you laugh, but aside from the main entrance, all the exit doors are alarmed so that security knows who opened what door at what time and they can review the camera aimed at that door."
( 6/19/2006 9:49:02 AM)
"I'm a graduate student studying Human Factors Psychology, though that's incidental. Two of the skills we are taught in classes is how to perform a Task Analysis (TA) and a Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA). TA looks at the flow of tasks and how they are managed by experts (alone or in a group) so that we can train novices how to do them. CTA does the same thing, but also includes decision making theories, communication methods and such. The outcome of this is a series of sequences that, if followed perfectly and in the recommended time by the recommended people who have been selected based on the recommended skills, will model the ideal behavior of everyone involved. And, excluding chance, will always result in success. For example, CTAs exist for launching the space shuttle with recommendations for training history and personality scores for the astronauts. And directions down to the flip of a switch, how long it should take and when it should be done for every stage of take off and landing. So, after reading "Manna" and looking at the technology mentioned here, I'm actually more surprised this doesn't exist already. The information, methods and technology are there, just not the implementation. "
(Carrie 6/20/2006 1:20:08 PM)
"I wonder though if this place can work out the finances for this projects. I mean once the novelty goes, is it really better than having human employees."
(Karthik 6/22/2006 3:17:26 PM)
"I can't resist adding Marshall Brain's blog post for this item:
It is not clear to me which is more interesting in this article:
The fact that "Hyperactive Bob" has been invented and is being deployed in a fast food restaurant
The fact that I predicted its invention in the book Manna
The fact that this article puts connects "Hyperactive Bob" and Manna together.
In any case, thanks very much to for this article:
Hyperactive Bob Fast Food Management Robot.
If you would like to read more about where the "Hyperactive Bob" technology will lead us, read Manna.
Also, check out Marshall's Robotic Nation Evidence blog."
(Bill Christensen 7/3/2006 6:58:05 AM)
"I work at a software company that makes warehouse management products. These products have been telling warehouse workers what to do for years, they do it over wireless handheld terminals. There is also voice capability, both for input and output. There are hundreds of companies using this software. Not exactly a new concept... Now, an application of the concept to fast food might be new, but that is just a logical extension of it. "
(Mike 9/23/2006 10:04:24 AM)

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