Science is definitely a double-edged lightsaber. Wield it wisely, and you get penicillin and pasteurization. Wield it incorrectly, you end up with AutoTune and robots that must eat to gain energy independence. When it comes to computers controlling beer recipes, we’re still on the fence. Groundbreaking scientific methodology or horrifying, world-ending experiment? Throwing caution into the kettle, U.K.’s IntelligentX Brewing Co. is aiming to find out. Damn the consequences.
The London-based brewhouse is creating premium craft beer that uses complex machine learning algorithms to improve itself from customer feedback. According to this article on engadget:
The AI actually takes the form of a Facebook Messenger bot that asks drinkers a series of questions about the beer. Questions take the form of 1 to 10 ratings, yes or no queries and multiple choice responses. Those answers about taste and preferences are then used to find trends that could be used to improve the final product over time. IntelligentX sees the use of AI as a way to put the drinker in the same room with the brewer making the beer, a physical meeting that’s nearly impossible to set up in real life. What’s more, the system can collect and analyze data much master than a human can with pencil and paper.
Fans can try one of four bottled conditioned beers (golden, amber, pale and black). The beers come in exclusive “pirate black” bottles, which are available in “extremely limited editions for those that know how to find it…,” making for a small test group, we suppose. Codes are printed on the bottles to direct people toward the bot, which then asks a series of questions. According to this article on Wired:
The bot asks questions based on customer preference and flavour and answers are normally marks out of ten, yes or no and multiple choice. The AI uses a system known as reinforcement learning to learn from how it has acted and get better outcomes in the future. In this sense the AI is ‘rewarded’ based on hard-coded biases that instruct it to please customers — those who like hoppier beers or stouts, for example.
This feedback is then accumulated to spot trends and inform the brewing process, with beers slowly changing over time.
IntelligentX says its beers have changed about 11 times since they were first brewed, which accounts for a year-long trial period during which the company received feedback. The brains behind the AI are machine learning firm Intelligent Layer and creative agency 10x. Regardless of its world-changing possibilities, IntelligentX has created a cool little, futuristic marketing niche and a new way to interact and give bigger voices to customers.