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With fast food slowly dying, McDonald’s using artificial intelligence to bring their experience to the next level. 

 

Mcdonalds artificial intelligence fries
Credit: Robert Beatty

“McDonald’s has a new plan to sell more Big Macs: Act like Big Tech.

Over the last seven months, McDonald’s has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire technology companies that specialize in artificial intelligence and machine learning. And the fast-food chain has even established a new tech hub in the heart of Silicon Valley — the McD Tech Labs — where a team of engineers and data scientists is working on voice-recognition software.

The goal? To turn McDonald’s, a chain better known for supersized portions than for supercomputers, into a saltier, greasier version of Amazon.

As fast-food sales decline across the increasingly competitive restaurant industry, McDonald’s is looking for new ways to lure customers. On Tuesday, the chain said same-store sales in the United States had been weaker than expected for the third quarter, sending shares lower.

But in the coming years, the company’s machine learning technology could change how consumers decide what to eat — and, in a potentially ominous development for their waistlines, make them eat more.

So far, the technological advances can be experienced mostly at the chain’s thousands of drive-throughs, where for years menu boards have displayed a familiar array of McDonald’s favorites: Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, Chicken McNuggets.

Now, the chain has digital boards programmed to market that food more strategically, taking into account such factors as the time of day, the weather, the popularity of certain menu items and the length of the wait. On a hot afternoon, for example, the board might promote soda rather than coffee. At the conclusion of every transaction, screens now display a list of recommendations, nudging customers to order more.” Read More

 

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