September 11 – 5 Key Stories From The Digital World

By September 11, 2019 Insight

1. McDonald’s plans to bring AI voice technology to its drive-thrus

  • has been testing Apprente’s technology in several locations and expects it will allow for “faster, simpler and more accurate order taking” at its drive-thrus
  • McDonald’s self-service kiosks will be implemented across all US restaurant locations by 2020, which could reduce the need to hire as many human cashiers
  • food chain’s acquisition of Apprente is its third tech deal this year…acquired Dynamic Yield, a personalized data startup, in order to customize its drive-thru menus by the weather, time of day, current restaurant traffic and trending menu item

2. Nutrition Is Moving Beyond ‘One Size Fits All.’ Here’s How Tech Is Personalizing Your Diet

  • the rise of the $4.3T wellness industry — which has seen consumers embrace everything from CDB-laced seltzer to wellness-optimized real estate — is prompting an increasing number of nutrition companies to tap into the trend
  • Personalized nutrition typically involves creating customized products or services…Companies touting this approach are leveraging emerging tech like at-home DNA testing and 3D-printers to promise benefits including healthier diets and more effective supplements
  • “Nestle Wellness Ambassador” program had users send photos of the food they were eating…AI tech would then analyze the photos and additional personal data, from sources such as DNA and blood tests, to recommend capsules for nutrient-infused teas, smoothies, and snacks… picked up around 100,000 users in Japan

3.  What’s the Difference Between Developing AI on Premises and in the Cloud?

  • key benefits of renting GPUs in the cloud: a low financial barrier to entry, support from cloud service providers and the ability to quickly scale up or down to a different-sized computing cluster
  • An on-prem system can be used for as much time and as many projects as the hardware can handle, making it easier to iterate and try different methods without considering cost
  • Cloud-based GPUs can be used for tasks as diverse as training multilingual AI speech engines, detecting early signs of diabetes-induced blindness and developing media-compression technology

4. Plans for Melbourne’s flying taxi service get serious as Uber Air head appointed

  • …Malligan will be responsible for making Uber’s ambitious urban aviation plans a reality, working alongside the Victorian government, Melbourne Airport, federal aviation agencies, and Melbourne communities
  • Uber Air has been touted by the company as an “urban aviation ride-sharing product”, which it hopes will ease traffic congestion on the ground
  • vision is for safe, quiet electric vehicles transporting tens of thousands of people across cities for the same price as an UberX trip over the same distance

5. SoftBank mints QuintoAndar a new unicorn in Latin American real estate tech

  • round is the latest sign that startups in Latin America can get money if they’re developing technologies in specific areas that are massive pain points for the geography’s nascent middle class
  • QuintoAndar invented a marketplace that lets users search, book, rent and advertise rental properties in Brazil…an example of a Brazilian startup solving Brazilian problems
  • company is projecting over 2 million visits scheduled through its platform in 2019, and is seeing 4,500 contracts signed per month