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AI hype invades Taco Bell and Pizza Hut

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Depending on who you ask about AI (and how you define it), the technology may or may not be useful, but one thing is for certain: AI hype is dominating corporate marketing these days—even in fast food. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, corporate fast food giant Yum Brands is embracing an “AI-first mentality” across its restaurant chains, including Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, and Habit Burger Grill. The company’s chief digital and technology officer, Joe Park, told the WSJ that AI will shape nearly every aspect of how these restaurants operate.

“Our vision of [quick-service restaurants] is that an AI-first mentality works every step of the way,” Park said in an interview with the outlet. “If you think about the major journeys within a restaurant that can be AI-powered, we believe it’s endless.”

As we’ve discussed in the past, artificial intelligence is a nebulous term. It can mean many different things depending on the context, including computer-controlled ghosts in Pac-Man, algorithms that play checkers, or large language models that give terrible advice on major city websites. But most of all in this tech climate, it means money, because even talking about AI tends to make corporate share prices go up.

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