You can place an order with Domino’s just by tapping an icon on your phone’s home screen. It’s efficient, but a little sterile. Taco Bell is working on something a bit more engaging, and it’s powered by artificial intelligence.
They’ve got a new chat bot called TacoBot that’s ready to serve hungry customers — at least a select few beta testers who want to help them polish things up before TacoBot becomes a full-time employee. The goal isn’t necessarily to make ordering as fast as possible, it’s to bring a human touch back to the online ordering experience.
Think of it as Siri or Cortana, but dressed in a Taco Bell uniform… and maybe not so much someone you’d go to for directions or for help laying out your schedule for the day. If what you’re after is a late night Tex-Mex fast food fix, TacoBot is ready to serve.
You can ask TacoBot what’s on the menu before you start building your order. Once you’re ready to start adding items, it’s pretty much like talking to someone at the drive-through window — minus the static and puberty-induced voice cracking.
Order up a chicken soft taco. Add extra cheese. Skip the lettuce. TacoBot keeps things light by chiming in with comments such as, “you’re missing out.” It’ll offer help as you go, too, letting you know how to check your order before it’s submitted and adjust quantities.
TacoBot can actually converse with you, too — it’s not all business. You can ask it to weigh in on the timeless chicken vs. egg debate, for example. No word on whether or not it can help you find a location to hide a body.