McDonald’s is throwing in the towel on one disturbing project

Dinkun Chen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fast food restaurants have suddenly become a topic of controversy.

From pricing to wages, burger joints are a part of the political discourse.

Now McDonald’s is throwing in the towel on one disturbing project.

Leftists are constantly pushing for an increased minimum wage regardless of market forces.

Almost every time wages are artificially increased by the government, increased unemployment follows.

Consequences of minimum wage hikes

In addition to layoffs, another way that businesses defray costs from artificial labor expenditures is by raising prices.

Some McDonald’s franchises have gone viral for hiking the price of a Big Mac to $18.

Companies also reduce labor costs through automation, which takes away opportunities for lower-skilled workers looking to get their foot in the door and start climbing the economic ladder.

However, McDonald’s recently announced it was scrapping its plans for AI drive-thrus for the time being.

Restaurant Business reported that “McDonald’s is ending its two-year-old test of drive-thru, automated order taking (AOT) that it has conducted with IBM and plans to remove the technology from the more than 100 restaurants that have been using it.”

Some restaurants have already fully integrated AI.

For example, Jet’s Pizza uses AI to take phone orders.

McDonald’s USA Chief Restaurant Officer Mason Smoot said, “While there have been successes to date, we feel there is an opportunity to explore voice ordering solutions more broadly. . .After a thoughtful review, McDonald’s has decided to end our current partnership with IBM on AOT and the technology will be shut off in all restaurants currently testing it no later than July 26, 2024.”

However, McDonald’s is not ruling out the technology down the road.

AI still in the works

Smoot added that the company would make “an informed decision on a future voice ordering solution by the end of the year.”

Concerns over AI have grown dramatically over the past few years.

AI was once considered merely a threat to low-skilled labor, but advances in the technology could significantly impact paralegal work, graphic design, and even diagnostic medicine, among other fields.

McDonald’s said in a statement, “As we move forward, our work with IBM has given us the confidence that a voice-ordering solution for drive-thru will be part of our restaurants’ future. We see tremendous opportunity in advancing our restaurant technology and will continue to evaluate long-term, scalable solutions that will help us make an informed decision on a future voice ordering solution by the end of the year.”

IBM also intends to branch out to other companies.

The company said in a statement, “IBM developed automated order taker technologies with McDonald’s to support the emerging use of voice-activated AI in restaurant drive-thrus. . .This technology is proven to have some of the most comprehensive capabilities in the industry, fast and accurate in some of the most demanding conditions.”

More than anything, drive-thru customers want order accuracy, whether it’s coming from a robot or a human.

IBM added, “While McDonald’s is reevaluating and refining its plans for AOT, we look forward to continuing to work with them on a variety of other projects.”

The future is coming, whether people like it or not.

Stay tuned to Unmuzzled News for any updates to this ongoing story.

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