Would you like (silicon) chips with that?

Automated check-outs: efficient or soul-destroying? Or maybe both? Opinion is divided on the topic, while supermarkets keep on changing more and more of their checkouts to the human-less variety - saying customers like them, though actually we suspect it's more that they save lots of money.

Anywho, now it's not just supermarkets (OK, and Boots) that are getting in on it. And who better to take the cause of removing human contact from everyday life forward than those paragons of automation, McDonald's?

Yes, the guys who brought you waiter-less fast food, then the drive-thru and the scarily-named 'food management system', are adding 7,000 automated tills across Europe. Of course, at Maccy-D's you don't browse shelves and check out, you place an order, and so these won't be scanners like you're used to (though the idea of taking burgers of a shelf and scanning a barcode seems kinda nifty). No, they're touch-screen kiosks where you place your order then go somewhere to wait for an actual human (OMG germs!) to give it to you.

Yes, sadly, the food doesn't come out of a slot on the machine having been materialised out of thin air, a la Star Trek: The Next Generation. But give it time, yeah?

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