McDonald’s AI-powered drivethru coming your way as robots replace workers

Workers are fearing for their jobs after McDonald's announced it will begin massively scaling the amount of automated drive-thrus it has worldwide.

The fast food giant will partner with IBM to build an automatic ordering system powered by artificial intelligence and voice recognition at 14,000 US restaurants over the next two years.

IBM will take over McD Tech Labs, which has been trialling automated drive-thrus at 10 McDonald's restaurants in Chicago.

The companies will use 'IBM Watson', which is IBM's super-smart AI, to automate more restaurants and put more languages, such as Spanish, into the voice recognition system.

IBM will also make the AI better at recognising different accents.

McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski claims that the technology is roughly 80 percent accurate and can process 80 percent of all drive-thru orders.

That means only a fifth of orders need to be taken by humans, which could put thousands of McDonald's staff out of a job.

Apparently, managers are even training restaurant workers to not help customers.

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In future, the company hopes to automate its kitchen too, which would see robots operate the fryers and grills, although this could be some years off.

Drive-thru orders generated almost 90 percent of US sales for McDonald's during the pandemic.

Next Tuesday, thousands of McDonald's workers plan to go on strike over alleged handling of sexual harassment by the company. They will also be striking to demand $15 an hour wages and a union.

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