Cooking-as-a-service has been a hot topic at Gloo this week; and not just because of all the pizzas we’ve ordered during Game of Thrones. Other things that caught our interest were BT’s uninspired design choices and what’s described as the “first” ban on facial recognition tech.

BT unveils its new logo

After many years of rebranding, development and delays, BT have finally announced their new logo. Give us a drumroll please… It’s the letters B and T in a rather uninspiring font, surrounded by a circle.

Contrary to what its CEO said at the launch, we don’t think it screams “we’re transforming BT into a national champion that exceeds our customers’ expectations”. Things it reminded us of included a dietary label on a pre-packed sandwich and the little language indicators on the instructions for putting together flat-pack furniture.

Not surprisingly, its been widely mocked on Twitter. Even Poundland got in on the action with their own amusing rendition. We can’t help feeling a little sorry for the designers. Designing a logo isn’t just an emotive thing anymore, there are so many use cases to consider.

It’ll be interesting to see if BT ride out the criticism, like Zara, or cave to public opinion, like Gap. We hope that they stick with it and let the designers show what they can do with it.

Ban on facial recognition technology

San Francisco has become the first US city to ban the use of facial recognition technology by city authorities, such as transport agencies and law enforcement. The “Stop Secret Surveillance” ordinance passed 8-1 in a vote by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.

There are several reasons why campaigners want to limit the use of facial recognition technology. Some fear that it gives police too much power and that it could be deliberately used to suppress marginalised groups. Others are worried about the inherent biasit’s repeatedly been shown that AI often exhibits racial bias, including examples used in the criminal justice system. And even Amazon, a company at the forefront of the technology,  had to abandon an AI-driven recruitment tool that was shown to favour men over women.

Of course, there are those that will argue the ban on facial recognition is anti-progress, and that the security benefits outweigh any dangers of misuse. Whichever side you’re on, it’s certainly a bold move by San Francisco and we’re intrigued to see if other cities around the world follow suit.

Cooking as aservice

We all know that across many, many aspects of life the trend is away from ownership and towards renting or consuming servicesfrom computing resources to cars and clothes to furniture. Now, meal on-demand services like UberEats and Deliveroo (which Amazon has just invested $575 million in) aren’t just offering to deliver from local restaurants, they’re creating dark kitchens to offer popular brands in areas where they don’t have a physical presence.

A survey of food preparation trends over the last 50 years found that all income groups are buying meals prepared outside the home at a greater rate than ever before. In fact, “cooking as a service” has gone from less than 10% to around 25-30% of our eating. And over the next few decades, this could rise to 50%.

“I think cooking will, by 2040, be a niche activity like e.g. gardening or sewing.”

Patrick McKenzie

The next wave of cooking-as-a-service could be driven by “cloud kitchens”flexible, modular spaces that any chef or restaurant can rent out to produce food solely for delivery. That’s going to help restaurants overcome the cost of maintaining front-of-house. But while this model will bring ultimate convenience to consumers; what does it mean for our health? It’s great that our culinary tastes are expanding beyond pizzabut there’s a risk that healthier options will attract premium prices. And that’s a much bigger worry if we don’t know how to cook for ourselves!

Posted by John on 20 May 2019