Starbucks to replace baristas with AI?

Starbucks to embrace more AI?
Starbucks to embrace more AI?

Will the Seattle-based coffee chain operator entertain the idea of making coffee all by artificial intelligence?

Starbucks, famous for its expensive beverages, has not yet gone down the path with kiosk services like McDonald’s or Tim Horton’s. But could the coffee giant further embrace AI and skip their barista services?

The company recently formed a technology partnership with Microsoft. The collaboration enlists the Redmond software giant’s Azure cloud services in combination with other AI and Internet of Things offerings to bolster its bean-to-cup and other initiatives.

At a Developers conference earlier in the summer, both Starbucks and Microsoft said they are working on to boost the coffee company’s stature as an innovation leader in its field.

Starbucks first announced its bean-to-cup initiative in a 2018 pilot, stating that it would work with farmers in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Rwanda to pilot a blockchain-based coffee-tracking system.

Could this prompt more ‘thinking outside of the box’ for Starbucks? Though established its dominance early in the coffee industry, Starbucks has seen stiff competition in recent years with unconventional beverage chains popping up throughout Asia, North America and Europe. One of the driving forces was a couple of bubble-tea makers from Taiwan.