Mission and Master Plan

The Demand for Food

The demand for food is higher than ever.
Humans on Planet Earth
Humans Expected by 2030

The Modern Global Labor Shortage

We have a pressing problem on our hands. We’re seeing labor shortages unlike any other time in history and don’t have enough supply of labor to meet demand.

Resolving this is of vital importance right now since there are many jobs in the world – like food production – that we all fundamentally need to survive. Humankind is growing wealthier and growing older, and it’s clear people don’t want to work these jobs anymore. Yet we still need the output to meet demand.

Jobs Unfilled Globally
American Jobs Unfilled
Jobs Unfilled in the Food Industry: 
America's #1 Labor Shortage

Keeping the Food Supply Chain Onshore

Because of this labor shortage, many companies, especially those in manufacturing, are considering offshoring more of their supply chain to meet production targets. They have to meet customer demand and yet there are simply not enough workers in the US who are willing to do the work. This has vast consequences for America and any nation. At Chef, we believe it's vital to keep food supply chains onshore.

Automation in the form of AI-enabled robotics is simply necessary to augment the labor force.

A Grander Long-Term Vision of the Future

But what if there were an even grander vision? One driven by a simple idea: humans are incredible. We put a man on the moon. We discovered the structure of DNA and penicillin. We created art like The Starry Night and Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. We are truly an extraordinary species.

So if humans are so extraordinary, why is it that billions of humans have to do repetitive, dull, dangerous, and dirty tasks to make a living? Why is it that so many people find their work unfulfilling?

We believe in and are working to create a future where we all have an opportunity to self-actualize our highest potential, to be innovative and creative, to lead others, to problem solve, to think strategically, to create art, and to love others. In other words, we want to empower humans to be, well, human by freeing them from the toil of manual labor.

A Path to Achieve This Abundance

So how do we create this future?

We believe the path to freeing humanity from the drudgeries of day-to-day life is the same one that will enable us to overcome the labor shortage and keep production onshore, and it lies at the intersection of AI and robotics. Throughout modern human history, automation has helped free up humans. The Gutenberg printing press freed humans from the toil of manually copying books by hand and empowered them to read and learn. Jethro Tull’s seed drill  freed humans from manually planting seeds and allowed them to focus on other endeavors. The steam engine freed humans from manually creating mechanical power so they were able to use electricity to build the modern world instead. In other words, automation tends to take redundant and unfulfilling jobs and create even more fulfilling and human jobs. Costs tend to decrease, volume tends to increase, the economy swells, and as a result, more businesses and even industries form, ultimately leading to better (and more) jobs.

Today, a primary driver of the economy is manual labor carried out by humans (50% of all GDP). The type of fixed automation historically found in factories in itself cannot help here; traditional automation can only do the same things over and over again without thinking, and as a result, lacks the flexibility needed to deal with the complex nature of today’s world. We’re now seeing the convergence of AI and robotics, driven by several factors which include cheap sensors like depth cameras and LIDAR, new algorithms like deep neural networks and transformers, cheap and cloud-hosted GPUs, and ever-decreasing costs of robot manipulators.

Basically I just want to replace the current paragraph there with this: "Given these advances, we believe that in the world of tomorrow AI-enabled robots will do the dull, dangerous and dirty jobs, freeing up humans to do the more humane jobs. Imagine further a world with abundance: with the products and services that make up the economy available to everyone at an affordable price. We believe that AI’s biggest impact will be on the physical world via its potential to free humans from manual labor.

Thus, Our Mission Is

To Empower Humans to Do What Humans Do Best by Accelerating the Advent of Intelligent Machines

Why Start with the Food Industry?

It has the biggest hair-on-fire labor problem of any industry in the U.S. According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, there are currently 1.137M unfilled jobs on the market. That’s more than any other U.S. industry.

If our goal is to create abundance through AI+Robotics, we need to start where our technology has the biggest impact. By size of labor force, the food industry is the second largest labor force in the world and the third largest in the U.S.; in the US, it's the largest labor market tractable by AI today (the largest two are nursing/personal aides and retail salespeople, unlikely to be automated anytime soon).

By helping create more food, we can help increase volume and thereby decrease the cost of food, making food more readily available for all, and furthering our mission of achieving abundance.

Our Medium-Term Vision

Our medium-term vision is an AI-enabled robot in every commercial kitchen in the world.

The Roadmap to Achieve Our Medium-Term Vision

In AI, there’s a cold start problem: to have a highly capable AI, you need training data. With purely cloud AIs (like LLMs), you can simply download the open internet. You can often use simulation to generate data for self-driving cars. But in the food industry, there’s no off-the-shelf training data and there are no physics-based simulation engines since food is deformable and often doesn’t follow Newtonian mechanics. In other words, to generate valuable training data, you need to deploy robots in production environments. And given everyone preps and cooks food differently (something that was made today will likely never be made the same way again), it’s necessary to 1) deploy robots at a wide variety of customers to see the highest breadth of foodstuffs and 2) simply deploy just a large number of robots in the world.

To generate this training data, Chef is starting in an environment where we can partially automate a food operation and thus can add value in production to customers without requiring 100% full autonomy from the get-go: food production. We can help these customers overcome the labor shortage and increase production volume; at the same time, as Chef deploys more and more robots, Chef sees more depth and breadth of ingredients which makes our AI models more capable. These robots essentially act as data ingestion engines to improve our AI models. Furthermore, these deployments in industrial settings also allow Chef to substantially improve reliability, scale up customer support operations around the country and world, reduce the bill of materials, and spool up volume manufacturing.

We can then leverage these systems to go from low-mix and high-volume applications like food production to high-mix and low-volume applications like ghost kitchens and ultimately, to deploying AI-enabled robots in every commercial kitchen in the country. At every step of the way, Chef will become more flexible and able to handle a higher surface area of edge cases, ultimately adding more and more value to a wider range of customers and applications.

Our Roadmap

Accelerating Our Long-Term Vision

Perhaps most critically, if our goal is to create a future where there are tens of billions of intelligent machines that we interact with daily, we won’t be able to do it alone. But we can accelerate that future. If we can become the first robotics company to truly scale to hundreds of thousands of AI-enabled robots in the world doing something close to home (i.e., making food), we can inspire the next generation of founders, engineers, incumbents, and investors to build robotics at scale, and collectively, we can scale intelligent robots. That in turn is our mission – to accelerate the advent of intelligent machines in the world.

We would love to collaborate with you