McDonald’s in the United States has decided to stop taking orders through an AI robot. This decision came after many customers received a completely different order than what they had originally placed at the AI system at the drive-thru.

The idea of an AI voice listening to your order at the drive-thru and relaying it sounds like a convenient invention, which is what fast-food chain McDonald’s thought. In 2019, they partnered with technology company IBM to implement a system with speech recognition technology.

This system was tested in 100 McDonald’s restaurants across the United States. Giving your order, making adjustments, special requests – the AI ordering technology was supposed to handle it all. The trial was to see if automated voice ordering could streamline and simplify the drive-thru experience at McDonald’s.

However, it didn’t always simplify and streamline as expected. Numerous stories and videos on social media show how the AI system is causing “chaotic situations.”

For example, one video shows a woman interacting with a robot controlled by AI. It’s far from efficient. She asks for vanilla ice cream but initially receives only caramel ice cream. When she gets upset and repeats her order, the AI system adds butter to her order instead.

Another video shows two women unsuccessfully trying to communicate that they don’t want anything else, but the AI system keeps adding chicken nuggets to their order. It escalates to the point where the system tells them they owe over $200 for the chicken nuggets.

There are even stories of people receiving 8 tea bags with their order or ordering ice cream but getting bacon added as a topping without requesting it.

McDonald’s stated that the speech recognition should be 85% accurate, but that remaining 15% is causing too many issues. The fast-food chain has decided to temporarily halt the use of AI ordering technology in the 100 locations. By the end of next month, it will be removed from all drive-thrus.

Despite this setback, McDonald’s is not completely giving up on AI. The company still believes that the technology “is part of the future of restaurants.” They are just putting the collaboration with IBM on hold when it comes to automated order taking technology.

There were concerns from the beginning, especially from employees, that AI would make their jobs redundant. IBM has expressed interest in continuing to work with McDonald’s in the future, but the fast-food chain may explore other partnerships to integrate AI into their systems.