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Innovation Comes With a Cost

Posted January 19, 2023

Ray Blanco

By Ray Blanco

Innovation Comes With a Cost

A few weeks ago, you might remember the buzz created by the “worker-less” McDonald’s in Texas.

In case you missed it, the internet was shaken up a bit by a trial McDonald’s that operates solely off mobile orders. 

The only workers inside are the cooks, everything else is completely automated. 

Of course, that brought on discourse about whether or not this type of automation would be good for society… 

Regardless of what side any of us are on the topic, no one can deny that automation technology is working itself into our daily lives more and more with every passing day. 

The technology behind it all is certainly impressive and it’s been in development for years now. 

While convenience for these goods and services will likely increase, there is a catch… 

Ultimately, workers will lose their jobs to this kind of automation. 

We can already see that happening with McDonald’s, which is planning for job cuts this year. 

The interesting thing about these job cuts is that they’re not for cost-cutting.

McDonald’s is actually planning layoffs so it can reorganize, innovate, and expand quicker and more efficiently.

Another part of the reorganization includes the company deprioritizing and halting certain initiatives, according to a company-wide memo from its CEO. 

Right now, it remains unclear what those projects are.

Clearing a Path Forward

A major part of this conversation about automation is the utility provided by artificial intelligence systems. 

Perhaps one of the most notable changes to our daily lives is automated voice ordering. 

In 2021, AI was first introduced to voice ordering in the drive-thru lane. 

Later in 2022, that same labor-saving technology started popping up everywhere. 

Looking forward, we will likely see AI voice technology really take off and find its way into a huge amount of businesses this year. 

AI voice ordering is a technology that allows customers to place orders for goods or services using natural language voice commands. 

This technology uses AI and natural language processing (NLP) algorithms, enabling the system to understand and respond to spoken commands.

For customers, one of the main benefits of AI voice ordering is convenience. 

You’ll be able to place orders without having to navigate through a website or mobile app, saving time and reducing friction in the ordering process. 

Moreover, voice ordering is accessible to customers who may have difficulty using traditional ordering methods, such as those with visual impairments.

Another benefit of AI voice ordering is personalization, with customer data, the system can make personalized recommendations and offer customized deals. 

For businesses, AI voice ordering is a cost-effective solution to add more value for customers. 

It can reduce the need for human customer service representatives, effectively lowering labor costs. 

Also, the system can operate 24/7 without a need for breaks, which increases the availability of the service for customers and increases opportunities for businesses employing these systems.

Still, with all the benefits, AI voice ordering has some hurdles to overcome before it’s capable of fully replacing a team of humans. 

One of the main limitations is the accuracy of the system… 

The system's ability to understand spoken commands can vary depending on the speaker's accent or background noise, which can lead to inaccuracies in orders. 

Additionally, the system may not be able to understand certain words or phrases.

Even still, AI voice ordering is a powerful technology that can improve the ordering experience for customers and increase sales opportunities for businesses. 

However, businesses will need to see proof that these systems can overcome the current limitations before going all in.

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