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KFC Launches Facial Recognition Tech in China

KFC Launches Facial Recognition Tech in China

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Let’s say you’re drunk and barely functioning, but craving yourself some fried chicken. You want it ASAP, with as little human interaction as possible.

Cue facial recognition technology. This nifty convenience will remember your first order at KFC, and subsequently suggest similar combinations that suit your preferences. Whether or not you think this is creepy, it’s now a thing in China, and could soon be headed for the rest of Asia.

The fact that this can pinpoint everything from your gender to your age is pretty impressive.

Self-service kiosks in fast food restaurants are nothing new. McDonald’s was probably the first to implement them to better manage long queues.

In China, Baidu has teamed up with KFC to launch a kiosk that can recommend you menu items based on how it thinks you look.

In a Baidu press release, the company said that a man in his 20s might be recommended a “crispy chicken hamburger, roasted chicken wings and coke” for lunch. A female in her 50s would instead be recommended “porridge and soybean milk” for breakfast.

Wow, right?

Which takes us back to our earlier supper episode. In such situations, would you humbly accept the suggestion or would it just lead to lots of unnecessary frustration?

A recent report by The Guardian shows the facial recognition kiosks unused.

At this point, it’s hard to say if these kiosks have really taken off.

Recently, The Guardian reported that while customers find these kiosks interesting, most still prefer the familiar method of ordering via a regular person who, more likely than not, will not remember you 5 minutes after taking your order.

In China, the government is currently rolling out a “social credit” system that will contain information about an individual’s credit history, consumption habits, and “incidences of conduct that seriously undermine the normal social order.” The system also rewards good behaviour, and one’s score might affect their ability to travel, buy property, and so on.

In light of this, one wonders if we really want people tracking our fried chicken eating habits. While KFC wants to provide a more personalised ordering experience, it does feel like this could turn out to be more of a flop than a clucking success.

Will these kiosks soon be heading for the rest of Asia? Only time will tell.

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