McDonald's Suspends AI Drive-Thru Test With IBM

McDonald's Suspends AI Drive-Thru Test With IBM
Above: OCTOBER 18, 2023: Motorists queue to use the Drive Thru hatch of the fast food restaurant McDonald's in Bristol, England Image copyright: Matt Cardy/Contributor/Getty Images News via Getty Images

The Facts

  • Fast-food restaurant franchise McDonald's plans to end its artificial intelligence (AI)- powered drive-thru Automated Order Taker (AOT) partnership with IBM by July 26. The AI-based order systems have been deployed at over 100 US locations.

  • While the test was aimed at simplifying operations, customers reported multiple ordering blunders with the AI bot. However, McDonald's said the pilot program, which began in 2021, gave it "confidence" that AOT will be used in the future.

The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

AI is revolutionizing the restaurant industry for the betterment of customers. From perfectly made food to personalized menus, restaurant-goers have expressed high satisfaction with the quality of service and cuisine. With automation now covering the basics, the next step will be to use virtual reality to give customers immersive dining experiences at their fingertips.

Establishment-critical narrative

Technology has been used to increase customer satisfaction, such as high-tech French fry makers, but never at the cost of so many jobs or privacy. AI is about replacing all cashier jobs while using personalized menus and foot traffic detection to encourage customers to buy more at a higher price. The goal is to increase the bottom line, not worker or customer satisfaction.

Metaculus Prediction

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