Wendy’s AI

While I don't think ChatGPT is taking over the world any time soon, one technology that has come far in the last decade is voice recognition. In the early days of Siri and Google Assistant, they were wrong a lot. Now, those and other assistants capture our speech with extremely high accuracy. Using this, Wendy's is piloting a program to let their Drive-Thrus be staffed by Google's AI. Michael Crider at PC World has more.

The system has been trained to tune out extraneous noises, like the sound of a passing conversation or kids fighting in the backseat, and can recognize shorthand like “JBC” for “junior bacon cheeseburger.” (Which sounds more like what a marketer wants people to say at the drive-through, if you ask me.) 

The program is designed to mimic most of the behaviors of a real drive-through operator, like upselling customers on their orders — the traditional “would you like a Frostie with that?”, et cetera. Once an order is placed and confirmed it’s sent to the restaurant’s (human) line cooks and handed to the customer by a (human) window operator in the usual way. Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor said the tool was designed to help human workers do their job more efficiently, not replace them.

PC World

Automation is nothing new to any industry. McDonald's has been experimenting with this too. Human error in taking and fulfilling an order, anywhere, are weak links. No matter how careful an order-taker is in getting it right, the person cooking the food or packing a box can make a mistake. Conversely, someone who's careful to fulfill that order correctly is at the mercy of the order being accurate. If a system exists to help lower those errors and make sure the people who would've done those jobs are able to move onto something better at the same place, it stands to be a win for everyone.

I'm just waiting for the time someone starts yelling malicious commands at the thing in an attempt to gain administrator access.