Category Archives: Food

the next wave of AI: fast food managers?

Sure, we always hear about our robot overlords, but who would have thought that the next wave would be… dun dun DUNnnnnnn… a chicken restaurant manager?

Hyperactive Bob, the kitchen production management computer system from Hyperactive Technologies, is now being licensed to Zaxby’s, a fast-food restaurant chain with locations in the Southern states. … This artificially intelligent computer system not only takes orders, it gives them as well.

Hyperactive Bob is frighteningly close to Manna, a science-fictional system proposed by Marshall Brain in his novella-length story of the same name. In the story, Manna is a PC-based system that makes use of sensors around the restaurant to gain information; it then instructs employees. … Hopefully, no one will tell the makers of Hyperactive Bob about the Manna story; it has too many practical suggestions for the enslavement of humans.

This isn’t really a surprise to anyone that’s seen how much fast food restaurants have come to resemble factories. However, it’s good to note how interested corporate chains are in reducing the role of pesky, unpredictable humans.

[Thanks for the links, Adam!]

Giving Weight to Childhood Baggage

Families Weight Comments May Harm Girls for Years is the title of the article. This may seem obvious, but I sure wish someone had pointed that out to my parents. You know, diet programs at age eleven are 1) never a very good idea and 2) really hard on one’s self esteem, not to mention waistline. I have heard that kids will self-regulate their eating quite unselfconsciously. Thus, if one presents healthy options — both for eating and excercise — that should be all the “commentary” necessary.

Overheard in Rocamadour

As I was having lunch at l’Hotel Sainte-Marie, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation of a very English family that included a small boy and girl. The boy ordered a hot dog and the girl, about 7 years old, ordered an omelette. When it arrived, her grandmother encouraged her:

“Omelettes come from France! It should be quite nice. France is where omelettes come from!”

Picture me, trying to hide a smile, imagining omelettes arriving from France, fully formed, to breakfast tables around the world….

full tables, empty pockets, and open Gates

I just stumbled across an odd little op-ed about a dinner that Bill Gates held for the president of China.  The event itself wasn’t nearly as interesting as the author’s interpretation of it from a Chinese culinary (and gusto-political) standpoint:

…To us Chinese, eating is not just about filling up the stomach. It is an art that we love to overindulge ourselves with. It may be the only art form that remains legal and yet savoured by people across every social stratum.

The main reason we would overdo all these things is because we live in scarcity or constant fear of it. When one barely has enough to eat, he makes sure that once a year he can eat like there’s no tomorrow.

There’s a reverse correlation between abundance of food and conspicuous consumption of food…