Artificial intelligence and virtual reality are permeating all sectors – discover the three areas of the food and beverage industry they are having a big impact on right now:
The gamification of dining
Patience may be a virtue, but our society is severely lacking it: 96% of Americans will knowingly consume extremely hot food or drink that burns their mouth. Faced with these increasingly impatient customers, food and beverage retailers are taking advantage of artificial intelligence and virtual reality to gamify the dining experience.
Pizza Hut’s interactive concept table not only gamifies the ordering process, it also allows customers to play actual games while waiting for their food to be served.
The Skullmapping studio used projection mapping for Le Petit Chef – an animation experiment where a tiny chef appears on your table and crafts your dishes via whimsical improvisation.
Increasing efficiency or eliminating the human factor?
If robots will be replacing humans has been a debate going on for some time. But while it’s been mostly theory in the past, there are now first real-life examples: Royal Caribbean Cruises has robot bartenders in their Bionic Bar, and robot-staffed restaurants are popping up all over China, including a KFC.
Robot proponents argue they are safer, more reliable and efficient – and increasingly also cheaper – than their human counterparts. Opponents argue that this results in a loss of jobs and the dangerous shift away from human interaction in an already digital-centric world. Fact is that while robots can’t yet wholly replace humans (in fact, some Chinese restaurants have “fired” their robot waiters) they aren’t going anywhere. Rather, you can expect to see them emerge everywhere.
One factor to be considered is the lack of laws to regulate robots in the future. Case in point is Domino’s delivery robot DRU which already launched in March in New Zealand, but has not yet taken to the streets as driverless vehicle regulations are still being discussed.
Artificial intelligence and virtual reality can not only make food and beverage consumption more fun or efficient – they can also make it healthier.
What if you could enjoy a piece of rich chocolate cake despite being a diabetic? Frustrated by his own intolerance of soy and gluten, Jinsoo An decided to develop Project Nourished, which combines virtual reality and 3D printing to trick your mind into believing you are eating something entirely different to what you are actually consuming.
In the real world, artificial Intelligence has found a way to help avoid a possible side effect of eating out: food poisoning. Computer Scientists from the University of Rochester have developed an app, nEmesis, that combines crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence to identify food poisoning-related tweets, connect them to restaurants using geotagging and rank them according to how likely it is for someone to become ill.
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