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US drive-thru operated by ‘AI’ is discovered to be run by people from countries like the Philippines

An AI-operated drive-thru system that is used in fast-food chains Checkers and Carl’s Jr., isn’t the perfectly autonomous tech it’s set to be. In a report made by Bloomberg, it was revealed that AI relies on a backbone of outsourced laborers who constantly have to get involved so that they can take the customer’s orders correctly.

The company providing these drive-thru systems, Presto Automation, revealed in the latest filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that they hire “off-site agents” in countries such as the Philippines who help its “Presto Voice” chatbots in over 70 percent of customer interactions.

In an interview by Bloomberg Shelly Palmer who is running the tech consulting firm said, “There is so much hype around AI that everyone is misunderstanding what this tool is. Everybody thinks that AI is some kind of magic.”

Presto was informed by the SEC back in July that they will be under investigation for claims “regarding certain aspects of technology.”

Going past that, there are no further details yet that have been made public about the said investigation.

Last August, the company’s website claimed that AI could take over 95 percent of drive-thru orders “without any human intervention”. In an attempt for transparency, their recent claim made in November was changed into 95 percent “without any restaurant or staff intervention” which seems too good to be true.

This is part of Presto’s pivot to the “new humans in loop” marketing tactic that upholds its behind-the-scenes laborers as making the workload manageable for the actual restaurant workers.

The CEO of Presto, Xavier Casanova told investors at the recent earnings call that, “Our human agents enter, review, validate and correct orders. Human agents will always play a role in ensuring order accuracy.”


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