Eye on AI - November 11th, 2022
Welcome to Aigora's "Eye on AI" series, where we round up exciting news at the intersection of consumer science and artificial intelligence!
This week, we’ll be looking at the future of dining out and how blockchain helps build trust within the agriculture and food industries.
The Future of Dining Out Is More Efficient, Not Fully Automated
The restaurant industry, like so many others, is in the midst of a seismic post-pandemic shift. Delivery has never been more popular. Inflation and the war in Ukraine have led to global pricing uncertainties. Worker shortages are increasing as workers migrate to more secure industries. According to the article “‘Bring Me a Steak, Mr. Robot’ or How the Future of Dining Out Looks Like,” the one certainty of dining out is that it will be technologically driven.
“Robot Industries, founded by Sergiu Spinu, is a Romanian company with over a decade of experience in building robots and providing automation tools,” writes The Recursive contributor Elena Vrabie. “The founder believes that soon 80% of the restaurant industry’s processes will be taken over by robots.”
Spinu’s company creates robots that assist restaurant teams with cleaning, serving, and reception. They can lead people to their tables, take orders, and deliver them, and also assist with payments and table cleaning. In the future, they could be behind the counter taking orders. These innovations could lead to significant improvements in restaurant efficiencies to help lower operating costs.
Other companies are offering alternatives to traditional dining-out experiences. Bob Bistro, for example, uses smart vending machines to aid in lowering logistics and labor costs, reducing food waste, and offering availability around the clock for the restaurant industry. Consumers can access the menu via the app, then receive the dish they want heated on the spot through the built-in oven, all without chefs or servers involved.
Still, other companies are producing things like decentralized supply order distribution systems that keep essential products in-stock; online ticketing systems, personalized based on what needs to be done that day, that help employees stay in sync and improve check-ins; and dynamic recruitment systems assist with hiring. These examples seem to point to a dining-out future that’s fully automated. Yet dining out has always been an interactive experience, and will almost certainly remain so.
“When I go to a restaurant, I do it to socialize with my friends, and colleagues, but also with the waiter, and the owner of the business,” writes Florian Buca, CEO of Soft Tehnica, which is developing tech solutions for the hotel and catering industry. “I do not see fully automated restaurants. It’s not fine dining. Those experiences cannot be replaced.”
For more on the future of dining, check out this Forbes article on 10 ways AI is transforming the restaurant industry.
How Blockchain Creates Trust in the Agriculture & Food Industries
Speaking of food, according to the article “Blockchain is helping the agriculture and food industry,” blockchain technology is helping create a trust for businesses and consumers in the agriculture and food industries.
“Blockchain technology promises order in an industry that has become more globalized, providing transparency into where products come from and who is involved in their production process,” writes Nairobi Wire contributor Nick Mwangi. “In addition, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are transforming the industry, creating competition to ensure the supply chain is free from contamination and counterfeit products.”
Through a series of sensors, radio-frequency identification (RFID) technologies, and cloud platforms available through the Internet of Things (IoT), product traceability systems are now available to provide immediate alerts about things like food contamination, provenance and product safety tracking through blockchain supplier verification. Using the IoT, grocery stores can also see when products spoil in near real-time.
“For example, a packet of frozen meat can communicate with an IoT device at the supermarket to tell when a shopkeeper froze the product and when it should reach its expiration date,” continues Mwangi.
In other words, blockchain gives consumers and providers the ability to see where their food is coming from and what condition it’s in. And the decentralized nature of the blockchain allows parties to verify information without third-party intermediaries. When quality and source claims can be verified, consumer and business trust naturally improves.
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