Did somebody say pizza?

Zume Pizza is a one-year-old pizza chain startup that wants to make the world’s most profitable pizza through robotics.

That means automating the entire pizza-making process, outfitting delivery trucks with ovens programmed to finish baking the pie right before it reaches its destination, and — you guessed it — hiring very few humans.

Sound like the dystopian future every tech blog in the world has you envisioning? Well, it’s not. Check out the benefits:

  • Zume uses the money it saves by employing fewer people to give the people it does employ better pay (delivery drivers make $18/hour, compared to $8/hour plus tips for places like Domino’s).
  • All workers receive fully subsidized health, vision, and dental coverage
  • Thanks to spending just 14% of sales earnings on payroll (Domino’s spends 30%), Zume can source ingredients from nearby organic farms, even as it scales… which means more local farms will open and more people will be hired.

So, maybe robots stealing our jobs isn’t so bad after all?

A lot of people think automation is going to destroy all of our jobs, lead to rampant unemployment, and turn us into those depressing, sad excuses for human beings in WALL-E.

To be honest, it’s hard to argue with them when we’re constantly hearing about driverless cars, robot factories, and advancements in AI.

But, in reality, the relationship between automation and jobs is a complicated one, and not necessarily as negative as we think. In fact, some believe that automation will create more jobs than it kills.

And history suggests they might be right…

In the early 19th century, intellectuals like Karl Marx predicted that the automated power loom would bring widespread unemployment. The opposite happened. How?

The power loom allowed weavers to produce more cloth… which brought the price of cloth down… which caused demand to skyrocket… which meant textile shops needed to hire more weavers to meet it.

A similar thing happened when bar code scanners came out in the 1980s.

Dramatic prediction: No more cashiers ever! Actual result: Humans were still needed, and the number of cashiers grew by an average of 2% every year from 1980 to 2013.

So basically, what we’re trying to say is this:

Let’s stop worrying so much about our robot-filled future and the job mess it might cause. Because chances are, it’ll work out just fine.

Heck, thanks to companies like Zume Pizza, we’re already seeing how robots can positively impact employees and potentially create new jobs around them.

See what we mean? It’s not all bad.

Welcome to The Hustle. We send an email every morning with all the big news from business, tech, and culture. Just the important stuff-- none of the fluff. Sign up below or read our most recent email to see what's up.
When you're ready, of course.