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McDonald's pulls the plug on AI ordering system at its drive-thrus (after serving up $250 McNuggets blunder)

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McDonald’s, the fast-food giant, has decided to discontinue its AI-powered drive-thru ordering system. This decision comes after a series of unfortunate and somewhat comical mishaps. The question on everyone’s mind is whether this is a setback for the integration of AI in the fast-food industry or a necessary step towards refining the technology.


The AI ordering system, developed in collaboration with IBM, was initially tested at over 100 restaurant drive-thru systems across the US. The aim was to expedite orders and simplify operations for the crew. However, the technology showed mixed results, with some customers reporting that even simple orders were incorrectly processed.


One of the most notable blunders involved a customer ending up with over $250 worth of chicken McNuggets. Another incident saw a customer’s order of water and vanilla ice cream being supplemented with two sides of butter and four ketchup packets. These incidents have led to a reevaluation of the AI system’s effectiveness and its readiness for widespread deployment.



Despite these setbacks, McDonald’s remains optimistic about the future of AI in its operations. The company plans to “evaluate long-term, scalable solutions” for voice-ordering by the end of 2024. This suggests that while the current AI system may be flawed, McDonald’s is not ready to completely abandon the idea of AI-powered ordering.


Is the fast-food industry ready for AI integration, or are we still in the experimental phase? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you believe AI has a place in the fast-food industry, or should we stick to traditional methods? Share your views in the comments below.



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Image: Achisatha Khamsuwan | Dreamstime.com

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