McDonald’s drive-thru AI bot may have broken privacy law

McDonald’s announced earlier this month that it was deploying an AI chatbot to handle its drive-thru orders, but it turns out it might break privacy law.

The chatbot is the product of a voice recognition company McDonald’s snapped up in 2019 called Apprente which is now known as McD Tech Labs.

McDonald’s deployed the chatbots to ten of its restaurants in Chicago, Illinois. And there lies the issue.

The state of Illinois has some of the strictest data...

Fetch.ai announces partnership with IoT-focused distributed ledger IOTA

Cambridge-based AI startup Fetch.ai has announced a partnership with IOTA, an open-source distributed ledger focused on the Internet of Things.

Fetch.ai has caught the attention of investors for its potentially groundbreaking machine learning network of autonomous “agents” that can perform real-world tasks. It’s also caught our attention, making our list of innovative companies to watch in 2021.

IOTA was among the most hyped projects during the 2017...

Hi Auto brings conversational AI to drive-thrus using Intel technology

Hi Auto is increasing the efficiency of drive-thrus with a conversational AI system powered by Intel technologies.

Drive-thru usage has rocketed over the past year with many indoor restaurants closed due to pandemic-induced restrictions. In fact, research suggests that drive-thru orders in the US alone increased by 22 percent in 2020.

Long queues at drive-thrus have therefore become part of the “new normal” and fast food is no longer the convenient alternative to...

How to carry conversational AI beyond Covid-19: A guide

The acceleration of digital transformation was one of the most striking impacts of the pandemic. Video conferencing, contactless payments and conversational AI were just three of the technologies that saw massive adoption rates during 2020 as organisations scrambled to enable employees to work remotely, while helping customers to safely transact in-store and self-serve online.

Contact centre employees in the healthcare, travel, financial, retail and insurance sectors found...

Google’s AI reservation service Duplex is now available in 49 states

Google has expanded its controversial AI reservation service Duplex to 49 states across the US.

Duplex will have to comply with privacy regulations which vary between states and – when it expands further outside the US – their national laws too.

Google says the rollout delay in the US was due to awaiting changes in legislation or the need to add features on a per-state basis. Some states, for example, require a call-back number.

The reservation service...

Fetch.ai partners with FESTO on decentralised manufacturing marketplace

AI blockchain startup Fetch.ai is partnering with industry veteran FESTO to launch a decentralised marketplace for manufacturing.

Fetch.ai is based in Cambridge, UK and has built an impressive team of talent with experience from DeepMind, Siemens, Sony, and a number of esteemed academic institutions. The company is working on decentralised autonomous “agents” which perform real-world tasks.

FESTO was founded in 1925 and currently produces and sells pneumatic and...

IBM study highlights rapid uptake and satisfaction with AI chatbots

A study by IBM released this week highlights the rapid uptake of AI chatbots in addition to increasing customer satisfaction.

Most of us are hardwired to hate not speaking directly to a human when we have a problem—following years of irritating voicemail systems. However, perhaps the only thing worse is being on hold for an uncertain amount of time due to overwhelmed call centres.

Chatbots have come a long way and can now quickly handle most queries within minutes....

What happens when Google’s chatty bot chats with a chatbot?

Google Duplex impressed and scared the world in equal parts when it was unveiled, and now we've seen how a conversation goes with another chatbot.

Duplex, for a quick primer, is Google's AI-powered voice bot which can call businesses on a person's behalf for things such as booking hair appointments. It's so realistic that everyone has decided that bots must declare themselves as such before chatting with a human.

A company known as PolyAI – which specialises in...

Researchers create AI bot to protect the identities of BLM protesters

Researchers from Stanford have created an AI-powered bot to automatically cover up the faces of Black Lives Matter protesters in photos.

Everyone should have the right to protest. And, if done legally, to do so without fear of having things like their future job prospects ruined because they've been snapped at a demonstration – from which a select few may have gone on to do criminal acts such as arson and looting.

With images from the protests being widely shared on...

Babylon Health lashes out at doctor who raised AI chatbot safety concerns

babylon health ai doctor safety gp at hand artificial intelligence

Controversial healthcare app maker Babylon Health has criticised the doctor who first raised concerns about the safety of their AI chatbot.

Babylon Health’s chatbot is available in the company’s GP at Hand app, a digital healthcare solution championed by health secretary Matt Hancock that was also integrated into Samsung Health since last year.

The chatbot aims to reduce the burden on GPs and A&E departments by automating the triage process to determine whether...