KFC trials machine that guesses your order using facial recognition tech

By midian182 ยท 6 replies
Jan 11, 2017
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  1. Automation is threatening to eliminate many traditional jobs. But it’s not just call center staff, factory/warehouse workers, and drivers that face being replaced by robots, it’s fast food workers, too. A survey from last year found that millennials preferred interacting with a machine than a person when ordering from restaurants, but a KFC in China is taking things one step further.

    The outlet has teamed up with “the Google of China,” Baidu, to develop facial recognition technology that claims it can predict a customer’s order just by analyzing their features.

    Brave patrons stand in front of the machine, located at a KFC within Beijing’s financial district, and a camera will determine their sex, age, appearance, and mood. Once its gathered the data, it works out what it believes is the most likely meal the customer will order.

    A press release from Baidu, via The Guardian, said “a male customer in his early 20s” would be offered “a set meal of crispy chicken hamburger, roasted chicken wings and coke”, while “a female customer in her 50s” would get a recommendation of “porridge and soybean milk for breakfast.”

    If the machine offers up something you don’t want, which apparently happens quite often, customers can pick from a list of alternatives on the screen. It’s then a case of paying with a smartphone and picking the order up from the counter.

    While guessing the correct meal is obviously pretty hit and miss, the system can supposedly remember a customer’s choices. In theory, this means someone who has used the kiosk on a previous occasion can bring up their last order by simply standing in front of the camera. But it seems this doesn’t always work, either.

    There are some pretty obvious problems with the system, especially when it comes to inadvertently insulting people. Guessing ages can be a touchy area, as is rating appearances, and it seems to have some archaic notions of what men and women prefer to eat 

    Not surprisingly, the machine doesn’t appear too popular with fast food fans. It's reported that pretty much every person entering the KFC ignores it - though that could be partly related to China’s reputation when it comes to storing it citizen’s data. Nevertheless, there are plans for the facial recognition technology to be expanded to KFC’s 5,000 stores around China, and could even make its way to other services. Maybe we’ll see them in Chinese bars, offering customers different drinks based on how drunk they look.

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  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,343   +1,987

    So, if you're a little constipated and your face shows it, you get Chicken Nuggets? Interesting!
    EClyde and Kibaruk like this.
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    That's going to leave a foul.. or is that 'fowl' taste in a lot of peoples mouths. A good thing I don't touch that sludge then.
  4. Bigtruckseries

    Bigtruckseries TS Evangelist Posts: 583   +318

    I haven't eaten that garbage since 2011. Their original recipe used to be my favorite way to eat chicken. Now I realize it was all salt and transfat that kept me coming back for more.
  5. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +902

    I think if it is just through age it will have a hard time just popping up meal ideas. After all it's not like when you get to fast food they have 100 menu items, it's like, one of the 6 combos or just the sandwhich + beverage + side order.

    If they pick up on McDonald kiosks and improved it, which I think its a great idea but the navigation UI for the menu ducking sucks, it's a huge screen that you end up only interacting with half of it, with oversized menu items with more emphasis on the design of the buttons that you have to go through categories in order to actually pick something instead of using the whole real estate of the screen for it to be useful...

    Please go for more, don't come back :D
    #1 #TSHearOurCries
    #2 #IgnoreInNewsMode
    #3 #ThinkOfThemEyes

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,256   +454

    LOL.... how long until someone claims the machine is racist?
  7. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,307   +429

    In 1970 I worked at KFC for two weeks. A dangerous job. But that is neither here nor there. This tech is as dumb as self driving cars. Does Netflix ever get suggestions right based on what you may have viewed.

    If you have a fat face they will offer you fat.

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