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Robots are taking drive-thru orders and sending people to jail 👮‍♂️

Hey y’all — it’s tater tot Tuesday! We have a lot to munch on today, so let’s get to it! 🍽

Today’s Menu

Appetizer: A dangerous friend or an innovative tool?📱

Entrée: Robot drive-thrus? 🤖

Dessert: Is AI wrongly convicting people? 😳


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About three weeks ago, Snapchat granted each of their 750 million monthly users a new friend! This friend, however, is a little different than many others. What Snapchat dubbed, “My AI” is an interactive program (based on Open AI’s ChatGPT technology) which acts as a person, a “friend,” who is attentive 24/7 to the Snapchat user, available to help with whatever questions they may have in the matter of seconds. 🤳

After just a few weeks of My AI’s appearance on Snapchat, recent concerns have been raised by tech gurus, parents, and Snapchat users alike.

Tech gurus have recently raised havoc over potential biases involved in the programming of My AI which can have a major influence on the everyday learning and perspectives of its users. Additionally, a major concern has been how it is being used by children. The majority of Snapchat’s audience is between 15-22 years old, and many are utilizing the bot less as a tool to gain information and more as an actual friend. Some parents have voiced their concern over how “personal” the bot can be, causing their kids to alienate from their human friends and authentic, human connection. Other users are simply calling the new feature “creepy,” “invasive,” and “unnecessary.”

Some Snapchat users have been terrified of the technology tracking their activity and others want the bot off the app entirely. This has caused a 488% increase in the Google search: “how to delete Snapchat” since the release of My AI. Snapchat has attempted to recover from this by allowing users to delete the My AI feature, but many still remain weary of its capabilities and underlying intentions. 👀


Robot Drive-Thrus

Ever wondered what it would be like to be served by a robot? Not just a self-checkout computer, no, but by an actual, talking robot? Well, wonder no more! CKE Restaurants Holdings, the parent company of fast food chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, is implementing AI at its drive-thrus. They are working with a variety of tech companies to automate voice ordering at almost 3,000 restaurants all over the country. 🍔

The decision makers at CKE Restaurants believe that implementing AI into the drive-thrus will reduce human error, increase the speed of service, and also solve the labor shortage issues most fast food chains have been facing in recent years. It will also allow for simpler management and operation. No longer will managers be hounding employees to work harder and get off their phones, but rather they will be tweaking technical issues and spot checking quality of service!

The question many are asking is if this technology will be able to take the place of humans? The CEO of Presto Automation, a tech company included in the partnership with these AI drive-thrus, certainly thinks so. In fact, he believes AI has an increased ability to work efficiently and sell higher-priced items to customers. He states that the company’s AI "never forgets to up-sell, and up-sells better than a human." If the technology can provide the same human touch, however, is still to be seen! ❤️


Falsely Accused

In recent years, police use of AI has been ramping up. One area of major use has been its application to criminal investigations. The facial recognition feature of AI has been useful in detecting hundreds of criminals which has led to successful convictions. In fact, over half of federal agencies reported the use of facial recognition in criminal investigations. 👥

Since its use began, however, AI has been guilty of wrongly convicting multiple people. There has been significant push-back on this issue from those individuals who were wrongly convicted, the communities of the wrongly convicted, and by police departments themselves.

The failure of AI in some of these cases has led to lawsuits, including a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union. Phil Mayor, senior staff attorney for the ACLU, had the following to say after a 2021 case of wrong conviction in Detroit: "We know that facial recognition technology threatens everyone’s privacy by turning everybody into a suspect.” He continued, "We’ve repeatedly urged the Detroit Police Department to abandon its use of this dangerous technology, but it insists on using it anyhow. Justice requires that DPD and its officers be held accountable.” It is not just the officers that must be held accountable, however, but also the technology.

These kind of AI errors are part of the reason tech leaders such as Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang are calling for a six month pause on the experimental use of AI, lest we face "profound risks to society and humanity,” as we have seen with these faulty convictions.


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