McDonald’s to Acquire Apprente - Employees maybe no longer needed on Drive Thru Speaker

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https://news.mcdonalds.com/news-releases/news-release-details/McDonalds/acquire/apprente

CHICAGO, IL – September 10, 2019 – McDonald’s Corporation (MCD) announced today an agreement to acquire Apprente, an early stage leader in voice-based, conversational technology. The agreement marks another bold step in advancing employee and customer facing innovations while further strengthening McDonald’s technology capabilities. The announcement comes after extensive exploration with several parties, including evaluating Apprente’s solutions in McDonald’s test restaurants.

Apprente was founded in 2017 in Mountain View, California, to create voice-based platforms for complex, multilingual, multi-accent and multi-item conversational ordering. In McDonald’s restaurants, this technology is expected to allow for faster, simpler and more accurate order taking at the Drive Thru with future potential to incorporate into mobile ordering and kiosks.

“Building our technology infrastructure and digital capabilities are fundamental to our Velocity Growth Plan and enable us to meet rising expectations from our customers, while making it simpler and even more enjoyable for crew members to serve guests" said Steve Easterbrook, President and Chief Executive Officer, McDonald’s Corporation. “Apprente’s gifted team, and the technology they have developed, will form McD Tech Labs, a new group integrated in our Global Technology team that will take our culture of innovation one step further.”

“McDonald’s commitment to innovation has long inspired our team. It was quite clear from our various engagements that McDonald’s is leading the industry with technology” said Itamar Arel, Ph.D., co-founder of Apprente and Vice President of McD Tech Labs. “Apprente was borne out of an opportunity to use technology to solve challenging real world problems and we’re thrilled to now apply this to creating personalized experiences for customers and crew.”

The Apprente team will be the founding member of a new, integrated, internal group within McDonald’s Global Technology team called McD Tech Labs. Over time, McDonald’s expects to grow its presence in Silicon Valley with the hiring of additional engineers, data scientists and other advanced technology experts to join McD Tech Labs to meet future business needs and support deployment.

The latest investment builds on several key technology initiatives McDonald’s has introduced in recent years to improve the employee and customer experience. In April, McDonald’s acquired Dynamic Yield, a leader in personalization and decision logic technology, which is now deployed in over 8,000 restaurants in the U.S. with plans to be integrated into nearly all Drive Thrus in the U.S. and Australia by the end of 2019. McDonald’s will utilize this decision technology to provide an even more personalized customer experience by varying outdoor digital Drive Thru menu displays to show food based on time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic and trending menu items. The decision technology can also instantly suggest and display additional items to a customer’s order based on their current selections.

McDonald’s also invested in Plexure, a mobile app vendor, earlier this year to further advance the development of McDonald’s Global Mobile App.
 

notimp

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Oh the prank potential.

(I like one shake please, and one shake please, and one shake please, and some fries, and one shake please, and make all the shakes big ones. Could you repeat the order? No I dont want four shakes, I want one shake please, and one shake please, and one shake please, and some fries, and one shake please - oh, and could you leave out all the shakes? Thank you, bye... :)

Now automate this using a raspberry pi, a battery pack and a speaker - and you have a battle of the machines.. ;) (or just use an old phone.. ;) )

Or have more fun - build a tiny one of those have it say 'yes' at frequent intervals. Hide it in the frame.

Or "Do you have chinese food?"

Or order sauces at random intervals.

Or play back a voice over track. Pron for more fun.

Or get into the habit of ending all of your orders with a funny catchphrase.

Or train an alexa to converse with it ordering and canceling a sweet soure sauce.

Fun for hours.)
 
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Veho

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x65943

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That's the future. The wealth is only going to be further concentrated in the highest echelons and the poor will no longer have even menial labor.

The $15/hr minimum wage is not going to solve this issue.

As crazy as Andrew Yang sounds right now, at some point we are going to need to transition to universal basic income. However the idea of the government essentially providing welfare to every citizen is a scary one.

I don't want to be dependent on "benevolent" overlords. I just hope I die before any of this crap really gets going.
 

CallmeBerto

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You guys need to stop with the "AI IS GOING TO TAKE OUR JERBS!" nonsense. This is going to be the greatest thing ever as not only will goods and services get even cheaper our standards of living will go even more up.

Yeah you are going to have to work a bit harder to be more competitive in the job market. So what? I mean get ready now.

 
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eyeliner

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Well, I can't really understand this one, because when going to an McDonald's I see them wearing headsets and taking the orders while preparing the request. I don't think this will speedup delivery in any way. If else, this will be a funny way to interact, because though we are getting there, this still doesn't seem ready for full scale usage. I can be wrong, though. The ability of machines understanding dialogue is something incredible. It just might work.

But I think that people who want to correct an order it should be weird, unless the machine takes over the conversation. I usually ask for soup instead of fries, and most times, I remember that at the last step. "Oh, and instead of fries, I want soup for all menus". I'd like to see that in action, very much.
 

Taleweaver

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Curious how this turns out. I read notalwaysright.com on nearly daily basis, and the sheer stupidity, entitlement and jerk-factor that emanates from retail stores continues to baffle me. As a result, I give it less than a day before McDonalds corporations will receive mails claiming they've been harassed, bullied or lied to by the "person" by which they tried to order their stuff. :P


(...and considering people have less shame when facing machines: corporation will probably need to upgrade their servers to handle the flood of complaining mails within a week ;) )



Their last "technology" (the touch screens) are literally covered in shit:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cn...een-kiosks-in-uk-contain-traces-of-feces.html
Hmmm...no. Sorry, but you need to check your own source. Yes, it headlines "traces of feces", but that's already stretching the definition. It's "just" about the bacteria. It's not fun to hear, but those touchscreens are as hygienic as the average door knob.
 

FAST6191

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My favourite ever approach to this was in Amsterdam and far simpler than voice recog.

Restaurant did the usual burgers, battered sausage... greasy food for drunk people sort of thing.
Had basically a giant rotating vending machine and you could see through to the kitchen (absolutely rammed with I am guessing Turkish people) that was loading things up.

No language issues, no hygiene problems, no money issues, no trying to decode what drunk/stoned people want, whatever was there was there or you could wait 5 minutes and hope another one of the dish you want was made for the machine.

It probably says much that I went to Amsterdam, stayed in the middle of the red light district, wandered the entire place over several days variously doing touristy stuff and one of my main memories of it was a restaurant machine but hey.


Anyway as I sit here I don't think I have ever ordered at a drive through where you speak to a box for myself. This mostly as I don't like the food from anywhere with a drive through (didn't mind some of the places with a drive up and a waitress brings things out, possibly on roller skates, though) and tend not to eat outside the house. Mind you I have tried speaking to phones, call centres and TV remotes in recent times and they all failed more than they worked for my voice* so I went back to typing.

Politics section so film clip

*skip to 2 minutes
Not quite me as that is a rather old and rural way but can get there at times. Wandering through the wilds of that place a while back I met 20 somethings speaking that way though.
 
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morvoran

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Now, there are reports stating that McDonalds are looking into robot fry cooks and hamburger flippers on top of the automated drive-thru. Pretty soon, there won't be any jobs for low skilled workers to make the $15/hr minimum wage they are fighting for.
Even though I think it would be nice to make $15/hr to flip burgers, I knew that the protesters were fighting against themselves. In the future, teenagers looking for a start in the workforce won't have anywhere to go keeping them from learning how to make a living for themselves leaving them to depend on their parents and the government for support.

The plus side to all this is that if I ask for a bacon cheeseburger, I will get a bacon cheeseburger with bacon and cheese on it.

The $15/hr minimum wage is not going to solve this issue.

As crazy as Andrew Yang sounds right now, at some point we are going to need to transition to universal basic income. However the idea of the government essentially providing welfare to every citizen is a scary one.
I wonder if these corporations understand that if they replace all humans with robots, thus making us obsolete in the workplace, nobody is going to buy their products as we won't have jobs to pay for these things.
They will be paying high taxes just to give us money in order for us to consume their products for them to make a profit in order for them to pay the high taxes to the government. Whoa, my heads starting to spin......
 
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H1B1Esquire

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I just hope I die before any of this crap really gets going.

Then start ordering your fill of McDonalds while you can still make "secret menu" orders.

If you'd like a faster death, I recommend sticking as many syringes as you can in your veins, then pulling out the plunger until you bleed to death, while you eat a McGangbang for the high blood pressure and smoke two Camel Wides at the same damn time.


Just be warned, https://gbatemp.net/threads/hell.547883/
is more than likely to occur, so bring an eggplant.

------------
I just wonder when they'll start giving discounts for app orders or discounts on delivery?
 

FAST6191

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Then start ordering your fill of McDonalds while you can still make "secret menu" orders.

Would such things preclude secret menu/custom orders? If it is a largely automated service then I can't see a robot particularly troubled having to assemble multiple of say 50 ingredients in whatever order the crazy debug screen can concoct -- we have had level select and multiplayer game modes be more complicated than anything there would do for years now.
I would love to hear a talk from a UI designer that got to make the end result (as a sitting on my chair digesting the evening's curry I would think some kind of visual drag and drop with wire lines to connect it so you can have your burger surrounded by deep fried reconstituted chicken or whatever the kids are enjoying these days) but I can't see it being a technical challenge in any real way.

I wonder if these corporations understand that if they replace all humans with robots, thus making us obsolete in the workplace, nobody is going to buy their products as we won't have jobs to pay for these things.
Give or take a bit of blue sky research that the great book of manglement says you need to kick 5% to and the "only greater work of fiction is a politician's timesheets" attempts at a roadmap have you ever known a corporation to truly look more than 5 years into the future?
 
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H1B1Esquire

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I can't see a robot particularly troubled having to assemble multiple of say

I highly doubt I'd enjoy a McGangbang by a robot...though, I've seen some pretty good "boinkmachines" for women. I think one day, ......well, you could imagine.

BTW, that FBB was named Denise Masino.


----

I see what the "thing" is, but, you know, I also enjoy being able to throw innuendos at women.
 
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Xzi

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Theres your $15 an hour, soon there will be only one worker in the whole place (probably the manager) to handle complaints or whatever, he will probably also have to be the janitor too to keep his job.
Automation is indiscriminate, it will be replacing workers in states where the minimum wage is $7.25 just as much as it will replace workers in states where the minimum wage is $15. It's simply a matter of the technology becoming smart enough and cheap enough, it has nothing to do with workers pushing for a living wage. Corporate greed is a constant, never a variable.
 
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KingVamp

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Oh the prank potential.

(I like one shake please, and one shake please, and one shake please, and some fries, and one shake please, and make all the shakes big ones. Could you repeat the order? No I dont want four shakes, I want one shake please, and one shake please, and one shake please, and some fries, and one shake please - oh, and could you leave out all the shakes? Thank you, bye... :)
Funny, but you would just be wasting the time of other people , who just want their food. Not to mention, you could just do something similar to human workers right now.

I don't want to be dependent on "benevolent" overlords. I just hope I die before any of this crap really gets going.
Do you want to dependent on the "benevolence" of companies instead? Besides it not like people don't already rely on the government already.

Their last "technology" (the touch screens) are literally covered in shit:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cn...een-kiosks-in-uk-contain-traces-of-feces.html
Apprente and air motion ,like for phones, can help with that ... or simply have hand sanitizer next to them. lol
 
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