McDonald’s is going to use machine learning to supersize your drive-thru order

Fast food chain McDonald’s is planning to change up its drive-thru experience later this year, adding AI to the process in the hope our robot overlords can encourage you to add a few extra items to your order.

That’s not something I expected to write in my career.

New dynamic menus will start appearing at McDonald’s drive-thru restaurants by the end of 2019, and the aim is that they can provide a unique experience for each customer. These new boards feature Dynamic Yield’s “decision technology”, meaning the drive-thru menu could put fries in your eyeline after you buy a burger, or perhaps offer up a McFlurry when you come to the end of your order.

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McDonald’s acquired Dynamic Yield, the Israeli machine-learning startup, for $300m recently.

The tech has been tested in scores of restaurants already, and supposedly it will be responsive to the conditions at the McDonald’s at the time, too, meaning you could be offered cold drinks on a hot day, or items that are already in the food bin ready to go if there’s a stockpile.

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The tech here will be familiar to those who’ve shopped online, as it’s commonplace in online storefronts. Indeed, it’ll probably roll out across McDonald’s other ordering platforms in the meantime, but for now the plan is to install this in all of the U.S McDonald’s drive-thrus in the US.

Good on McDonald’s for being the first to embrace our dystopian, hyper-corporate, future.

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