Some people call this Artificial Intelligence (AI), but the reality is this technology will enhance us. So instead of AI, I think we'll augment our intelligence, quoted by Ginni Rometty, CEO (Chief executive officer) of IBM. The business of selling food to customers is being disturbed to a level not since the last pandemic, over 100 years ago. So, it's not true that the crisis accelerated the adoption of technology in the manner that is occurring today with Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the food industry. It is increasingly possible that our food system was ill-prepared (antifragile) for this Covid-19 induced crisis.
"It was uproar," she says, "We saw cars on fire." Her flat is in the East End district of Spitalfields in a Georgian house, which she bought 25 years ago, complete with a little shop that she ran for years as an organic grocer and tea room until the rates got too high, and she let it out to an upmarket chocolatier. It's as if a scene from Dickens's The Old Curiosity Shop has been dropped into a satire about prosperity Britain: the quaint old shopfront is still intact, while outside it a lifesize sculpture of a rowing boat full of people sits surreally in the middle of the street, and a little further along, a herd of large bronze elephants frolics. These public artworks only arrived a few weeks ago, Winterson explains, as part of a grand plan to pedestrianise the area, and make it more buzzy, just at the moment that the sort of well-heeled office workers who bought upmarket chocolates are abandoning it owing to the Covid pandemic. We're at a transitional moment in so many ways, she says – a perfect moment to launch a book that reassesses the past while staring the future in the face.
In less than a year, the American grocery store has gone from an age-old, in-person shopping institution to a destination at the forefront of a technological transformation. Grocery giant Kroger, for instance, covered 98 percent of households in its delivery areas in 2020 by investing in a large digital and delivery presence. Furthermore, according to a recent global study, over 50 percent of respondents are not planning to re-integrate in-store shopping into their routine for "a long time"--underlining the need for innovative solutions. As the world traverses a slow path to recovery amid COVID-19, how we purchase food and staple goods may never look quite the same, thanks to new technologies and consumer habits. Though automats and self-service technologies have existed since the 1930s, the first proper self-checkout platform was introduced in 1992 by Dr.
Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken, a fast-food chain in Ohio, hardly seems an obvious venue for cutting-edge artificial intelligence. But the company's drive-thrus are showcasing technology that reveals how the Covid-19 pandemic is accelerating the creep of automation into some workplaces. Unable to find enough workers, Chuck Cooper, CEO of Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken, installed an automated voice system in many locations to take orders. The system, developed by Intel and Hi Auto, a voice recognition firm, never fails to upsell customers on fries or a drink, which Cooper says has boosted sales. At outlets with the voice system, there's no longer a need for a person to take orders at the drive-thru window.
Scientists have modified Pepper the robot to think out loud, which they say can increase transparency and trust between human and machine. The Italian team built an'inner speech model' that allowed the robot to talk through its thought processes, just like humans when faced with a challenge or a dilemma. The experts found Pepper was better at overcoming confusing human instructions when it could relay its own inner dialogue out loud. Pepper – which has already been used as a receptionist and a coffee shop attendee – is the creation of Japanese tech company SoftBank. By creating their own'extension' of Pepper, the team have realised the concept of robotic inner speech, which they say could be applied in robotics contexts such as learning and regulation.
Shelf-scanning robot Tally will be donning a new apron soon. Simbe, the company that makes the robot, announced its first deployment with Save Mart, the largest family owned grocery chain in California, which acquired 132 Albertsons stores in 2006 has continued growing. Tally robots will be rolling out to 7 stores across all three Save Mart banners in the Bay Area to bring greater visibility to inventory, streamline operations for store teams and improve the customer experience. This is an important milestone for a sector that's been fixated on wider adoption and sees a real opportunity in the shadow of COVID-19, despite notable setbacks and some in the industry questioning the value of retail robotics late last year. In November 2020, Walmart killed a large contract with Simbe competitor Bossa Nova, which also makes a robot for inventory auditing and data-driven inventory insights.
Before COVID-19 struck India, Rajesh Agrawal and his wife, Meenakshi, would often get food from restaurants delivered to their home. A weekly treat of chicken tikka masala or lamb biryani would be a break from the vegetarian dishes they cook at home. It's been nearly a year since the Agrawals stopped ordering in food from their favorite restaurants. "There's no way to tell how clean and hygienic the restaurant kitchens are really," Mr. Agrawal says. "Sure, the government has released processes for restaurants during the pandemic. But we can't be certain that they're following those, can we?"