"Wish.com version of a cyberpunk dystopia."

Not So Happy Meal

Fast food behemoth McDonald's is abandoning its pilot AI project with IBM to replace human drive-through workers, according to The New York Times, after it kept on screwing up orders, with at least one customer getting mistakenly hit with hundreds of unwanted chicken McNuggets.

Other fast food chains are going full speed ahead with their AI pilot projects, but errors still abound.

Take this tidbit buried in the same NYT story: Wendy's AI drive-through system requires human intervention in the double digits — 14 percent, in fact, which is a pretty striking proportion.

White Castle has its own AI drive-through ordering system, and it also requires human intervention at a rate of 10 percent, a company spokesperson told the NYT.

Whether we can believe those corporation-provided figures is an open question, though even what they're admitting is pretty high. For their part, customers have been panning the practice.

"I had to deal with one of these in Idaho Falls and it was an absolute pain in the ass," one Redditor opined about a Wendy's drive through.

Another Redditor likened the experience to a "wish.com version of a cyberpunk dystopia."

Regret the Error

Expect more AI in fast food ordering and other areas of your life as CEOS try to cram the tech into everything in an effort to cut out human labor, look innovative, and jump on the latest hype train.

But many businesses, like McDonald's and other fast food chains, are experiencing bumps along the road as they deploy AI — which remains prone to errors and outright making stuff up.

The core question: are these businesses actually saving money with AI without alienating customers? The cost to deploy AI also isn't cheap.

And on top of that, regular people — who overwhelmingly still prefer dealing with human customer service agents — are getting crappier, error-ridden service, while more carbon emissions are pumped into the atmosphere for prosaic prompts on which fast food combo they want to order.

And on top of that, these fast food AI drive-through systems are another avenue for companies to capture your voice for commercial purposes, which is aptly illustrated in a Reddit photo of a White Castle AI drive-through system that displays its terms and conditions.

"I would just drive to another restaurant at that point," one poster quipped. "They wanna replace workers with AI so badly and yet the easiest workers to replace would be the CEO and board of directors who approved this crappy idea."

More on AI: Disillusioned Businesses Discovering That AI Kind of Sucks

Share This Article