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McDonald’s Stops Working With Robots

McDonald’s said it would stop using robots to take food orders because of too many mistakes.

Artificial intelligence technology keeps adding more chicken nuggets to a drive-through customer’s food order.

© Pavlo Syvak/Dreamstime.com; Animation Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Would you like butter with your ice cream? Probably not, but that’s what one McDonald’s customer got when she tried to order a caramel sundae without caramel at the restaurant’s drive-through window. The order had been taken by a robot that uses artificial intelligence (AI). After multiple customers reported problems ordering with AI, McDonald’s announced that it would stop using the technology—for now. 

McDonald’s began using the AI ordering system at more than 100 of its restaurants in 2021 to test whether to install the technology permanently. Many people were concerned that AI could end up replacing human workers, causing McDonald’s employees to lose their jobs. But the robot has made more mistakes than human workers, often misinterpreting what customers are asking for. Some of these misunderstandings are pretty major. 

Many customers have posted videos of themselves at drive-through windows, trying to get the food they want. In one video, a customer starts laughing as the robot adds more and more Chicken McNuggets to her bill, for a total of 280 nuggets.

“The McDonald’s robot is wild,” the customer’s comment reads. 

Another customer said she ordered one sweet tea and ended up with nine teas on her bill because AI added someone else’s order to hers.  

McDonald’s will get rid of its AI technology by the end of July 2024. But that might not be the end of the story. The company says it hasn’t ruled out bringing AI back sometime in the future.

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Did You Know?

In a group of people, McDonald’s hats appear on several to represent the proportion who have worked at McDonald’s.

© Artbyfranzi/Dreamstime.com; Animation Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

One in eight Americans have worked at a McDonald’s at some point, according to the company.

McDonald’s Around the World

Packaging and advertisements for various international McDonald’s items flash on and off the screen.

 © walterericsy/stock.adobe.com, Martin Lewison (CC BY-SA 2.0), [email protected] (CC BY-SA 2.0), Richard Allaway (CC BY 2.0), David Berkowitz (CC BY 2.0); Animation Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Can you get spaghetti at McDonald’s? You can if you’re in the Philippines! While international McDonald’s sell burgers, fries, and chicken nuggets, many of them also sell specialty items that aren’t available in other parts of the world. Travel around the globe with us as we check out a few McDonald’s menu items.

McSpaghetti (Philippines) 

In the Philippines, customers can order spaghetti with meat sauce. McSpaghetti also comes with a piece of fried chicken.

Poutine (Canada) 

McDonald’s restaurants in Canada serve poutine, a Canadian specialty that consists of French fries topped with gravy and cheese curds.

Panzerotti (Italy)

Italian McDonald’s has panzerotti, fried dough pockets filled with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.

Dosa Masala Burger (India)

In India, McDonald’s serves a veggie burger made with potato, peas, and spices, and topped with chutney mayonnaise.

Croissant (France)

Customers at McDonald’s in France can buy plain or chocolate croissants.

McFalafel (Egypt) 

In Egypt, McDonald’s sells a wrap containing falafel, which are deep-fried patties made from chickpeas and spices.

Summer Reading!

Three young people read while sitting on books and under a giant reading lamp outdoors.

© Olga Kurbatova/Dreamstime.com, © treety—iStock/Getty Images Plus; Illustration composite Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

It’s break time! In many parts of the world, kids are enjoying their summer vacation. Whether you’re on an adventure or just relaxing at home, you’ll want to check out Britannica’s summer break feature, which includes a list of books you’ll love to curl up with!

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Word of the Day

cuisine

Part of speech:

noun

Definition:

: a style of cooking

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