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KFC is now using facial recognition to guess what you’ll like

Published Jan 20th, 2017 6:40PM EST
facial recognition
Image: JeepersMedia

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Are your lunch choices dictated by your age and gender? KFC thinks they might be, so it’s going to use facial recognition technology to categorize customers and pitch meal choices that its algorithm thinks will make you happy. The Chinese arm of the popular fried chicken chain is partnering with China’s search giant Baidu to implement the technology in its restaurants.

Unlike a typical fast food experience — where you walk in, stare at the menu, pick something, then walk out — KFC China’s new technology relies on a computer to scan the customer’s face and make its best guess at their age, gender, and any other facial cues that might help it guess what you’d enjoy. Then, each customer gets their own personalized meal recommendation, and they can choose to either go with what the computer thinks or simply pick something off of the menu like they normally do.

It’s a weird concept, and sounds eerily similar to the oft-cited future world of Minority Report, where advertisements scan each passerby and provide personalized pitches. Of course, KFC China’s recognition system has very little to do with you as a person and relies heavily on demographic trends instead.

The idea of any company scanning your face and running that data through an algorithm in an effort to gauge which one of its products it thinks you might enjoy is definitely creepy, but when that company is pitching greasy chicken bits? Well, maybe we can look the other way on it.