As part of the natural next step in evolution before the machines inevitably rise up and kill us all, a burger chain is introducing facial recognition technology to its restaurants. In a move presumably prompted by their robot rulers, CaliBurger have unveiled a plan to replace cashiers with an advanced version of the interactive kiosks already prevalent across many of the biggest fast food brands. Be afraid.
Whereas most fast food tech typically involves frustratedly jabbing at unresponsive greasy screens while desperately hunting for non-existent humans for assistance, CaliBurger have significantly upped the ante. Through technical witchcraft, these new machines are able to identify individual customers and reproduce a complete record of their CaliBurger history. Diners can then easily choose from a list of their pre-established favourites, making ordering quicker and more straightforward than ever before. It's almost as effective as just telling someone what you would like and having them give it to you.
The new kiosk, developed alongside Japanese company NEC, employs software known as NeoFace. NeoFace is also being employed in CCTV cameras as well as biometric security systems across the world. Using such sophisticated and potentially powerful technology to order burgers feels a little excessive.
For those in the know, CaliBurger's latest innovation should come as little surprise. This is the company that earlier this year gave a job to "Flippy", the hamburger flipping robot from Pasadena based tech company Miso Robotics. The continued collaboration between CaliBurger and the robots is clear cause for suspicion.
The potential for facial recognition is not restricted to order recollection. For technocrats everywhere, the real excitement comes with the possibility of a "pay by face" feature, which advocates hope will eliminate the need for cash or credit cards. How lucrative this development could be for celebrity lookalikes remains unclear.
What is apparent is that CaliBurger do not intend to stop at facial recognition. CEO John Miller has already expressed his desire to introduce "social gaming" to his restaurants, as well as move into the field of autonomously driven vehicles. Perhaps most sinisterly, he has also intimated that he would like to develop robots to "monitor" dining areas. Skynet will already be licking their lips.
The move towards ever scarier technology is not limited to the fast food industry. This year has already seen the controversial launch of the iPhone X, with equally potent facial tech, as well as the rise of robot helpers in the form of Amazon Echo and Google Home. Nowhere is safe.
With the news that the machines are now coming to take over every area of our life, it seems prudent to prepare ourselves for the oncoming conflict. We recommend either carefully studying "The Terminator" for homework, or else fortifying yourself in some sort of bunker with plenty of tinned food. Just as long as you don't have any biometric security or other scary tech to hand, all should be well. For those who don't heed this warning, we wish you the best of luck ordering burgers from your future robot overlords.