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The First ‘Smart’ KFC Identifies Customers by Facial Recognition Technology
Imagine walking into a fast-food restaurant, being welcomed by artificial intelligence that is able to identify your age and gender, and ordering food from a kiosk without ever coming into contact with a real person. It sounds like the distant future, but this is a “smart” restaurant concept that just debuted at a KFC in Beijing. KFC teamed up with Baidu, the search engine often referred to as “China’s Google,” to create the impressive technology. “The artificial intelligence-enabled system can recommend menu items based on a customer’s estimated age and mood,” KFC China said in a statement. If you don’t agree with the suggestions, you can order whatever you want on the kiosk interface, pay with your phone, and then pick up your meal a few moments later from the counter.
The World’s Priciest Big Macs are in Switzerland
McDonald’s restaurants, and therefore Big Macs, are everywhere, which means it's pretty easy to compare prices between countries. Every year, The Economist looks at global currency value and purchasing power by comparing the prices of Big Macs in various nations to see which currencies are the most overvalued. This year, Switzerland came out on top. According to The Local, Switzerland has the highest-priced Big Macs in the world. Today, the Swiss Big Mac costs the equivalent of $6.35, while in the U.S. a Big Mac costs $5.06. According to the Big Mac Index, if the exchange rate between the Swiss franc and the U.S. dollar were 1.28, the burgers would be priced the same; the real exchange rate is 1.02 Swiss francs to the dollar.
Bernie Madoff Built a Hot Chocolate Empire in Prison
Bernie Madoff — the corrupt businessman who is serving 150 years in prison for committing 11 felonies and executing a $65 billion fraud scheme — is apparently putting his business skills to use behind bars by building a hot chocolate empire. A new Audible podcast called “Ponzi Supernova” recently aired exclusive interviews between Madoff and journalist Steve Fishman. “Bernie really was a successful businessman with quite original insights into the market, and he’s continued applying his business instincts in prison,” Fishman told Market Watch. “At one point, he cornered the hot chocolate market. He bought up every package of Swiss Miss from the commissary and sold it for a profit in the prison yard. He monopolized hot chocolate! He made it so that, if you wanted any, you had to go through Bernie.”
Chipotle Promises to Treat Animals Better With New Welfare Guidelines
Chipotle, once a champion of animal rights in the fast-food world, is doubling down on the welfare of chickens following a year of losses. In a press release, Chipotle outlined goals to be completed by 2024 with the help of Compassion in World Farming USA and The Humane Society of the United States. These include holding their livestock suppliers to a higher standard by demanding improved breeding of birds that are raised with more space and better living conditions, as well as a more humane and controlled slaughter process.
Jean-Georges at Trump Tower Was the Site of a “Cough-In” Protest
Jean-Georges restaurant in Trump Tower is usually a scene of quiet conversation and upscale dining, but last weekend it became the site of a chaotic “cough-in.” On Sunday, diners used their voices — and their lungs — to protest Congress’ Obamacare repeal by staging a joint coughing fit during brunch. “None of us were actually sick,” protester Mark Milano, part of a group called Rise & Resist, told Eater. “The idea was to draw attention to the healthcare issues in this country.” Although some of the wait staff were apparently “smiling” in response, not everyone was amused by the protesters’ act of civil disobedience. Police escorted them from the premises where they were met by fellow protesters and spent most of the day marching in resistance to the impending Trump administration.