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People are being spooked by McDonald’s new AI-powered drive-thru: 'Robots are taking over'

The AI is not able to pick up the exact orders of the customers and is even adding odd items to the bill.

People are being spooked by McDonald’s new AI-powered drive-thru: 'Robots are taking over'
Cover Image Source: (R) TikTok/@resinsbiren; (L) TikTok/@typical_redhead_

Artificial Intelligence has seeped into many industries recently, and it has been fascinating to witness this change. However, there is one area where people aren't appreciating the presence of AI and that is the McDonald's drive-thru. The fast food chain has a new AI ordering system, and some customers aren't thrilled. Ren Adams aka @resinsbiren on TikTok posted a video on February 10 criticizing McDonald's new artificial intelligence system, which the firm has installed at a handful of drive-thrus around the country. And, as proven by several other TikToks, Adams is not alone in their dissatisfaction, per TODAY.

Image Source: Getty Images/Justin Sullivan
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Justin Sullivan


Adams said, "So you all know how it’s 2023, and robots are taking over the world." Adams adds that they attempted to order their "daily dose of caffeine" with breakfast, requesting hash browns, sweet tea, and a Coke. However, when another passenger arrived in the lane next to theirs to order, the AI also picked up the other driver's order. Adams said, "Mind you, at this McDonald’s, it’s all robot. We’re talking to a robot, there’s no person on the speaker, it’s just a robot taking your order." 


The other driver was ordering a Diet coke, which was added to Adams' order instead. After attempting to delete the incorrect beverage from their order, the AI malfunctioned and instead added eight extra sweet teas to the order in addition to eliminating the Diet Coke. Adams said, "I saw this s**t, and I pulled out of the drive-thru and drove away. I said f*** that." This collaboration between IBM and McDonald's was initially revealed in a joint announcement by both businesses in October 2021. The firms stated in the announcement that they will "further accelerate the development and deployment of its Automated Order Taking (AOT) technology," which they have subsequently managed to accomplish. 


Nonetheless, according to a study issued to Restaurant Dive in June 2022, McDonald's AI has had lower accuracy rates than the original 95% that the business intended before rolling out the technology nationally. The AI scored in the "low 80% range" in 24 Illinois restaurants, leaving a significant gap to automated grub-getting excellence. More concerns have surfaced on social media as McDonald's continues to test this technology with real consumers.



Cailyn Sykora (@typical_redhead_) on TikTok recorded a short video of herself and a passenger laughing uncontrollably at McDonald's AI as it adds order after order of chicken nuggets to her tab on January 24. The text inlay reads, "This McDonald’s robot is wild," as it is seen adding 28 orders of Chicken McNuggets for hundreds of dollars as they beg for the AI to stop. A previous video, from November 2022, shows user Madilynn Cameron (@themadivlog) "fighting" with the McDonald's AI, attempting to buy vanilla ice cream without caramel when the machine instead adds cream, then butter to her order. 

User experiences plummet if the AI not working as it was supposed to, and it seems that now most customers prefer giving their order to a human instead. It is unclear what the future holds for Mcdonald's AI but it has been proved that Artificial Intelligence cannot replace humans for certain jobs. 

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