Cool and Scary, All at Once

Local tech startup Hyperactive Technologies got a nice plug in the most recent issue of MIT's Technology Review magazine. Hyperactive develops software that helps fast food stores deliver products more efficieintly: it monitors incoming cars and uses historical data to predict what the cars' occupants are likely to want to eat. This helps the restaurant get the right food into the cooking queue more quickly, leading to fresher food in the takeout sack.

If you own a fast food franchise, or if you order the same thing over and over and over again when you go to McDonalds, then it sounds great. And it seems to work.

But it's more than a little creepy too, no? We crave spontaneity in our lives, and here's a firm helping to automate fast food restaurants that want to stamp it out. You can still hold the pickles (keep singing: hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us: Have It Your Way!). But you'll. Have. To. Wait.


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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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