The Racist Kiosk Wars Begin?

How would you like a self-aware, computer ordering kiosk which profiled you by your facial features, ethnicity, age, and sex? As Americans, I doubt that would go over well here – as our society is notoriously very politically correct, but that certainly won’t keep China from doing it at their fast-food restaurants which have American corporate roots, including Yum Brands – KFC, that’s right Kentucky Fried Chicken.

There was an interesting article in Kiosk Marketplace News recently, posted on December 28, 2016 titled; “KFC China develops customer facial recognition technology to suggest menu items,” with excerpts also taken from The Daily Pot explaining how;

“The technology reads facial expressions and other visual information, like age and gender, to determine how individuals with similar traits typically order. Then, the technology matches those preferences with appropriate menu items. KFC is working with Baidu, a Chinese web services company, to turn this idea into reality. The machines will look at a customer’s age, gender and facial expressions to make their best guess. If a 5-year-old is held up to the camera, the kiosk should suggest a kids menu. If an adult walks in at 8 a.m., it might be time for some biscuits.”

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The customer can then look at the suggestions, make modifications or reject them, either way the artificial intelligent machine will remember their face and change the suggestions next time to better suit their variations in desired tastes and over time modify those suggestions with all people of similar facial features. It will attempt to make the adjustments to more accurately meet the customer’s preferences during the next visit.

Can you imagine how appalled people in the US would be if such machines existed here? I can hear the “racist” boycotting of such fast-food outlets if a machine noted someone was a black athlete, and suggested more “white meat” fried chicken because it would naturally have more L-Tyrosine for building muscle, merely because the artificial intelligence behind the kiosk machine noted the athletic facial features like a squarer jaw bone, and the dark skin – noting that the individual was black, with faster muscle twitch, and assumed that this is the kind of food that person should eat, or would enjoy eating. If the kiosk tried to suggest a water-melon soda, BLM would probably stage city-wide protests – as that would be going way too far.

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Likewise, people would be upset if the machine seeing a rounded face Hispanic woman went on to suggest; more mash-potatoes and gravy + supersized drink + tortillas on the side and spicy Mexican style family pack bucket of chicken. And it’s not that this might be a perfectly reasonable consideration, one which the heavy set lady might actually like – it’s that it is way overboard on the cultural stereotyping. Even if it didn’t offend either of these guests individually, I bet we’d all feel a little offended at such a scheme. So, let’s think about where we want all this artificial intelligent stereotyping to go, how far is too far? Yes, a heavy subject I know, so think on it. Be Great, Don’t Hesitate.

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by Lance Winslow