Facial Recog - Timelabs - © Timelabs

KFC China Testing Facial Recognition Ordering

There’s been lots off chatter about McDonald’s new touch-screen ordering kiosks. But it appears KFC China is going McD’s and everybody else in the Take-Out and Fast Service sectors one (or two, or three) better. They’re getting ready to deploy interactive facial recognition-based kiosks…

Facial Recognition - KFC China - © BaiduPrototype KFC China Facial Recognition ordering Kiosk.

Why not facial recognition? The technology has gotten pretty good and is in daily use in other realms. But what does KFC China hope to achieve by employing it? Nothing less than guessing what you want to eat before you even open your mouth to order. Technology firm Tech Crunch is partnering with Baidu – China’s official ‘Google’ service – to create a system that will suggest menu choices based on a diner’s age, gender, and mood. More to the point, the facial recognition system can recognise repeat customers and make recommendations based on their previous menu choices.

But is this really a good idea?

I wonder if this technology pushes a little too far into the privacy of the consumer. I’m not comfortable with it, myself, but I’m just a dowdy old poop who doesn’t even have a data plan on her Android phone. What do I know now that the phone company and other organizations who have a right to some of my personal information sell it to other organizations without my knowledge or consent. I don’t like that but, apparently, there’s nothing I can do about it. So… If facial recognition becomes popular – or even a standard – across the retailing world, will folks like KFC make lucrative background revenues by selling my ‘face’ to other companies? Will I start getting unwanted and unsolicited offers galore from  all points of the compass based on KFC’s analysis of my age, gender and mood?

Here’s where the Catch 22 comes in. If this idea is too far ahead of its time to be accepted as widely as it is likely to be implemented, will folks flock away from KFC and others who use it in favour of more private, anonymous Fast-Food/Take-out experiences? I know I will. Or, maybe, I’ll just make my own meals at home. Hey! There’s a really revolutionary idea!

~ Maggie J.