Coping: Robots, Digital Hoboes & Transfictional Life

Yet another indication that the US (and world) are headed for a terrible economic outcome is piled high with extra ‘relish’ this morning:  A company called Momentum Machines has been developing a machine that will displace the last retreat of the marginalized and unemployed:  The burger-flipping job.

To be sure, it almost sounds like a Popeil ad: slices things like pickles and fries up to 360-burgers per hour.

All of which gets us to commiserating with you on the whole “Damn, it’s Monday and I don’t want to get out of bed” thing.

But maybe not for much longer.  According to Wikipedia:

The United States has the largest fast food industry in the world, and American fast food restaurants are located in over 100 countries. Approximately 4.1 million U.S. workers are employed in the areas of food preparation and food servicing, including fast food in the USA.[11] Worries of an obesity epidemic and its related illnesses have inspired many local government officials in the United Sates to propose to limit or regulate fast-food restaurants. However, some areas are more affected than others. In Los Angeles County, for example, about 45% of the restaurants in South Central Los Angeles are fast-food chains or restaurants with minimal seating. By comparison, only 16% of those on the Westside are such restaurants

About here, one of two things is likely to happen.  If you’re over 50, you might remember the cartoons from the days of yore that included robo-restaurants that were called “automats” and many a cartoon was built around this notion:

Originally, the machines in U.S. automats took only nickels.[1] In the original format, a cashier would sit in a change booth in the center of the restaurant, behind a wide marble counter with five to eight rounded depressions in it. The diner would insert the required number of coins in a machine and then lift a window, which was hinged at the top, to remove the meal, which was generally wrapped in waxed paper. The machines were filled from the kitchen behind. All or most New York automats also had a cafeteria-style steam table where patrons could slide a tray along rails and choose foods, which were ladled out of steaming tureens.

Inspired by the Quisiana Automat in Berlin, the first automat in the U.S. was opened June 12, 1902, at 818 Chestnut St. in Philadelphia by Horn & Hardart.[2] The automat was brought to New York City in 1912 and gradually became part of popular culture in northern industrial cities. Horn & Hardart was the most prominent automat chain.

In its heyday, recipes were kept in a safe, and described how to place the food on the plate as well as how to make it. The automats were popular with a wide variety of patrons, including Walter Winchell, Irving Berlin and other celebrities of the era. The New York automats were popular with out of work songwriters and actors. Playwright Neil Simon called automats “the Maxim’s of the disenfranchised” in a 1987 article.

If you’re not yet 50, here’s how it works in a nutshell:  An older generation, perhaps the post-WW II crowd, had some dandy ideas way back in the day about food process automation.

But what’s going on now (between autonomous, self-driving cars and now foody-bots, is that all human labor is being quickly replaced.

“”No way, Ure…at least not in the high-end sit-down resties…

Again, you are so wrong.

Here is the replacement for the sommelier which popped up on Hack A Day.  It’s just one more aspect of human-replacement to, er, wine about.

Does it matter?

Well, hell YES is matters.

Right now, the majority of  jobs world-wide can be replaced with robotics and likely will be over the next 50-years, or less.

Problem:  We present, in effect, give industry carte blanche  (by subsidizing human-replacement with supportive tax polices).  Yes, thanks to depreciation and other misguided paybacks to the political ownership class, there’s money for those at the top.

What it heralds is the arrival of a permanent unemployed class.  And that will lead to either mass extermination of formerly free men and women, or it will lead to subjugation.  Government can – and will – go broke as  job replacement technologies core out government incomes since income taxes (that account for more than 70% of federal tax revenues!) are based on a terribly out-dated notion:

The value of human work.

Somewhere in here, people will wake up because, as I have told you before, it’s already almost too late.

It’s time to tax machines such that their output will be taxed at marginal rates that will more than replace the income tax on human wages that are being lost through human-replacement technology.

Go put that up on a wall somewhere or on a Post-It.  Between resource collapse and voice-processing autonomous robots, you’ll have a much better view of the future than most. 

Oh…and if you don’t own machines, you’re dead meat waiting for a place to happen.

The problem is not new.  When America was being settled, the deal with the devil was struck as our government gave railroad owners up to 10-mile wide “rights of way” for their railroads.  It sparked massive expansion, and brought us some of the neatest machines, every…

Now, however, that Peak Prosperity has passed.  And the “new” analog to the “rights of way” are things like consumption details of your personal life.  Monetizing the high surveillance security state.

And what that means – having accomplished Peak Prosperity is that we’re now on the path toward “Peak Paranoia”.

I want you to remember this conversation next time you read a headline about the NSA.  You is the digital hobo and don’t even realize it, yet.

I’ll try to remind you of this again, when the future headline “Amazon testing robotic baristas” shows up.   The news, you see, is transfictional.  It’s coming, but you just gotta be patient and watchful.

The WoWW:  Ornaments of Time-Space Rips

No Monday morning would be complete without a report from the World-of-Woo-Woo…and thus here we sit again with another deep ponder:

Two woos to report.  

We are a mid-60’s couple.  Healthy, no meds.  Practically poor, by which I mean if we were not practical and creative we would be.  Totally poor.

The first event seems quite normal for these times.  A year ago last fall – around the time there was a cerntanty of  time slips, we lost twenty minutes.  We live in the boonies and once a week we go to ‘town’ and always stop off for a meal at the same place.  Door to door the trip is 40 minutes of mostly highway driving.  A deviation of 1 or 2 minutes is possible.  We came out of the restaurant, well fed & happy chores were done.  I looked at the clock and it was exactly 2 pm.  I turned on the radio for the news.  One of the charming eccentricities of this area is there is only news once an hour.  More or less.  Sometimes the 9 am news is on at 9:15 or 8:50.  Sometimes it’s not on at all. Not much news so no big deal.  So we were pleasantly surprised  there was a newscast, and both of us commented on what an occasion this indeed was.  We pulled into our driveway and I happened to look at the car’s clock.  2:20.  I went straight into the kitchen to check the time so I could reset the clock in the car.  2:20.  It is impossible to do that drive in 30 minutes let alone 20.

Now for the reason of this report, which has to do with missing items.  We have had the same basic Christmas decorating system for 30-plus years.  The decorations are stored in 5 heavy cardboard boxes which are 1’x2′.  These live on the top shelves of hubby’s workshop.  Pristine, immaculately organized space.  We put up the tree, put on the random twinkling lights and then take out all the glass decorations in their original boxes made of thin cardboard, with dividers and cellophane windows in the tops.  Once all these beautiful old decorations are on the tree, their boxes are put back in the cartons and go back on their shelves til the tree comes down.  This year on tree removal day, we brought up the storage boxes and opened them to get out the boxes for the decorations.  There were no empty boxes…well there were 3, but they were full as the tree was a bit smaller than usual & we couldn’t squeeze any more balls onto it. These boxes are decorated with various patterns of red & green.  They still have the unbelievably low price stickers of iconic department stores no longer in business.  And they are missing.   The workshop is so meticulously organized that anything out of place is really noticeable.  Needless to say we searched the rest of our small house to no avail.  It will be interesting to see what is in those storage boxes when we take them down next year.  

If there is one. 

Love your blog 

Best wishes,


Send your WoWW reports (plus whatever else is on your mind, and whatever else is on your mind to

It was So Cold…

Write’s reader Rick (whose last name is Umpteeth, near as I can figure it):

It was so cold this morning that I saw a Jackrabbit bump starting a Cottontail…

Gee, would that have made the cottontail jumpy?

Tax Structuring the Lotto

Last week, we tackled the problem of how to get maximum returns from winning the Lotto or PowerBall.  Seems reader Roy’s figured it out…ain’t no practice dodge available:

Hi George – it doesn’t matter where you live what matters is where the ticket is bought and gets cashed at. If you are from NY – buy your ticket in NY – yep – that’s the price of living in a taxed state. If you are a resident of Florida and buy a lotto ticket in GA and it wins – you got that money in GA and they will take their tax as well. You MIGHT escape to the Grand Cayman’s or somewhere with the ill gotten goods IF – the tax isn’t taken when you cash it in – and most places – they take their cut BEFORE you get what’s left. Check this out – I think I’m correct about this.

Now – IF I were to win mill or a few – No need to “invest it”. at 3 score and 10 – I’m planning to spend spend spend and I won’t need to consult a cpa or investment counselor. I wouldn’t buy a zillion cars, nor a car that cost a zillion $$. I would invest in a nice 40+ acres and have a nice house built – and a couple more built down by the gate for the farm workers and have my drive pass between their houses – gate keepers as well as labor. I would NOT go to Disney, been there and it’s not worth the trip or the money and it’s only a few hours away at any rate. I wouldn’t take a cruise – I’ve been on my share of ‘boats’ and much prefer terra firma. Denali isn’t out of the question, nor perhaps a train cruise across the frozen chosen of Canada (forget traveling by train across the US). The spouse would buy her a “purty red truck” – unless she could come upon a really nice red ’85 Thunderbird V8 – then lead foot would be on the road again.

Yes, I buy tickets – Yes, I understand that it’s stupid bet – I did break even last year, so it was just having fun – No, I don’t lose sleep over winning or not winning. I don’t play with money I don’t have and I match stupid purchase with = or better addition to the pig in the basement (no – I don’t have a basement – I live in Florida), so it’s probably in the credit union, since I don’t do banksters.

Enjoy everything while you can – r

Hmmm…all of which gets us to the ponder of the week:  When you win that Big One, what are you going to do with all of it? 

To the North, reader Peter notes this about the advanced civilization calling itself Canada:

In Canada the tax on lottery wins is prepaid.
The LottoMax here in Ontario tonight, is paying out about 50 mil. CAN.
If I win, I get to keep it all.
That will be more than breaking even thinks I!
See you in Georgetown.

I’ll send you my mailing address, if you need it…