Thursday, April 7, 2016

TacoBot is Taco Bell's new ordering system to help you order Tacos all the time

Taco Bell is riding the bot wave in a big way: the fast food chain today announced a new integration with workplace messaging company Slack to offer an artificial-intelligence-powered ordering service. Aptly named TacoBot, the software will make use of AI advancements like natural language processing to let users talk with the bot, order food, and even pay for items entirely through Slack. TacoBot can also provide recommendations, answer questions, and organize group office orders. It apparently comes equipped with a "witty personality you’d expect from Taco Bell."

"The TacoBot Slack integration is the latest step on our journey to make the brand more accessible wherever and whenever our fans want it," said Lawrence Kim, Taco Bell's director of digital innovation and on demand, in a statement. "Taco Bell is about food tailor-made for social consumption with friends, and that’s why integrating with a social communications platform like Slack makes perfect sense. TacoBot is the next best thing to having your own Taco Bell butler… and who wouldn’t want that??"

Kim asks a good question, and the answer is nobody. TacoBot is currently in a private testing phase with select workplaces, including SAV Studios, Thought Catalog, Giphy, Fullscreen, and FoodBeast. The company says it will be making the service available to more companies in the coming months, and there's a waiting list up at Taco Bell's TacoBot webpage.

Taco Bell is no stranger to hip tech trends, even if they are savvy marketing stunts in the disguise of a bot-ordered Quesalupa. The company launched a mobile ordering service in October 2014, and last September it revamped its website to support desktop ordering as well. But bots represent a whole new territory of automation, and indicate high-level Taco Bell employees are paying close attention to Silicon Valley. Every tech giant, including Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon, are fast at work on bringing bots to the forefront of how we perform tasks on the internet. Now, TacoBot is getting in on the ground floor.

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