Matt Barnard, chief executive officer and co-founder of Plenty Inc., speaks at the SoftBank World 2019 event in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday 2019. Barnard said the company's high-tech approach to growing crops indoors results in plants that yield more without pesticides, use a fraction of water of their counterparts in the field and taste better, to boot. The use of AI (artificial intelligence) in agriculture is not new and has been around for some time with technology spans a wide range of abilities--from that which discriminates between crop seedlings and weeds to greenhouse automation. Indeed, it is easy to think that this is new technology given the way that our culture has distanced so many facets of food production, keeping it far away from urban spaces and our everyday reality. Yet, as our planet reaps the negative repercussions of technological and industrial growth, we must wonder if there are ways that our collective cultures might be able to embrace AI's use in food production which might include a social response to climate change.
Technology is becoming an increasingly important investment for the fast food chain, especially since it can help improve drive-thru times and labor costs, two areas the company has been working to improve. McDonald's previously said it was testing voice-activated drive-thrus and must have liked the results to pursue an acquisition. It is also testing automated deep-fryers that cut down on labor in the kitchen. With this latest acquisition, McDonald's is securing its place as a tech leader within the fast food space. It previously bought Dynamic Yield for $300 million earlier this year and has since deployed the company's decision technology at the drive-thru at 8,000 restaurants in the U.S. and plans to reach just about all drive-thrus in the U.S. and Australia by the end of the year.
McDonald's announced it will McBuy the Bay Area voice-recognition startup Apprente for an undisclosed amount. According to McDonald's, Apprente's "sound-to-meaning" technology handles "complex, multilingual, multi-accent and multi-item conversational ordering," and believes the technology will help streamline the drive-thru process -- even faster food, you say?? As the earth turns and the centuries change, so does the way people wish to order a Big Mac, and Micky D's has the cash to listen. Back in March, the company bought Dynamic Yield, which customizes drive-thru menus based on factors like weather, time of day, and customer order profiles. A month later, it invested in New Zealand app-designer Plexure, which will help connect customers to its new smart drive-thrus, among other things.
I keep having the same conversation with companies that want to brief me about their latest AI-related news. It goes something like this: They have some new feature or improved stats or fresh achievement that's specific to their business. Then we get to the AI part, and I start to salivate, asking them to tell me more and go deep. The reply is increasingly some version of "We use [a mostly unexciting AI tool] to do it." Coming from a background where I'm accustomed to covering technology for technology's sake, that feels like a letdown.
McDonald's [MCD] share price has gained 19% this year. The purchase of Apprente, which is aimed at automating its drive-thru operations, is a clear indication of a more tech-focused direction for McDonald's. Apprente's voice-based, conversational technology, "will allow for faster, simpler and more accurate ordering", McDonald's said on Tuesday. The Big Mac seller added that Apprente's technology could also be incorporated into mobile ordering and self-order kiosks. At the end of trading without disclosing the deal's financial terms, McDonald's shares were down 0.11% to $209.45.
McDonald's (MCD) is one of the oldest and most popular fast food restaurant chains in the world and as with any other establishments that have been around as long, the company is constantly seeking ways to improve its service and the experience it gives customers. The 79-year-old restaurant has now announced the acquisition of Apprente, in a bid to improve its service using automated voice commands. Founded in 2017, Apprente is a Silicon Valley startup which focuses on the use of artificial intelligence to analyze and improve orders placed via a drive-through. Proper use of this technology could significantly improve McDonald's service by reducing service time considerably. If all goes according to plan, McDonald's hopes to also apply Apprente's technology to orders placed using the company's mobile app as well as its order kiosks.
Another sector has been added to automation's hit-list. This time it's fast food, as McDonald's adds Apprente to its McD Tech Labs roster. McDonald's has announced plans to replace human workers with artificial intelligence-driven voice technology in it's US drive-thru stores. The fast-food giant announced Tuesday that it had acquired Apprente, a company pioneering speech recognition AI, which creates "voice-based platforms for complex, multilingual, multi-accent and multi-item conversational ordering." This is their third major acquisition of a technology company this year.
McDonald's has wolfed down Apprente, an AI startup focused on voice recognition. One of America's biggest fast-food chains wants to get its greasy hands on machine learning. Apprente, based in Mountain View, California, was founded in 2017, and has been building speech-powered customer-service chatbots. Now, the team will be rebranded as McD Tech Labs, and will slap their technology into McDonald's Drive Thru service. "The initial focus of the Silicon Valley team will be to enhance technology for use in McDonald's Drive Thru," gushed the McFlurry giant in a statement.
McDonald's is to replace human servers with voice-based technology in its US drive-throughs. The fast-food chain hopes the AI technology will make the ordering process more efficient. McDonald's is implementing the technology with the help of start-up Apprente, which it acquired this week. The move comes amid concern about workers whose jobs may become obsolete as a result of automation and new technologies. Up to 20 million jobs in the manufacturing industry alone could be replaced by robots by 2030, according to analysts Oxford Economics.
McDonald's is exploring ways to automate its drive-thru service with the help of artificial intelligence. It means that you could soon be chatting with a robot rather than a human when you pull up to place your order. Helping the fast-food giant in its high-tech endeavor is Silicon Valley-based Apprente, which McDonald's revealed this week it has agreed to acquire. Apprente was founded in 2017 to create a voice-based, conversational platform for complex, multilingual, multi-accent, and multi-item conversational ordering. According to McDonald's, Apprente's technology, which is already being tested […] Source: McDonald's plans to serve up artificial intelligence at its drive thrus