AI, robots and automation could replace humans in the food services industry “by the mid [2020’s],” Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed told CNBC on Tuesday.
The Yum executive says his company, which owns several fast food restaurant brands, including Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell, has already set up automated kiosks in Shanghai, China. In one case a Pizza Hut customer is greeted by a robot, he said.
Still, that doesn’t mean humans will be obsolete, he said. “We don’t make a lot of things until customers order,” Creed said. “I’m not sure we’re going to have robots replace people.”
But robots are already being used on factory floors around the world, and while they aren’t threatening jobs today, Creed says advances in technology will eventually lead to less work. “I don’t see it changing people’s jobs in the short term. What are we going to be in 10 years.”
Creed’s assertion is in stark contrast to comments made by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said he is not worried about artificial intelligence displacing jobs for at least 50 to 100 years. Creed told CNBC he disagrees with Mnuchin and believes it will be much sooner.
“I think it’s gonna happen,” Creed said. “We’ll see a dramatic change in how machines run things.”