World’s first AI whisky has been created with Microsoft

World’s first AI whisky has been created with Microsoft

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With all the latest advancements in science and technology, there are very few aspects that are untouched by programming. From medtech to space tech and even to help people sleep better, algorithms are everywhere and the most talked about subset of computer programming has to be Artificial Intelligence or AI. It has been the central theme of discussion amongst scholars and tech billionaires alike.

It was only a matter of time before someone applied AI to create a fine blend of whisky. The master blender and chief nose at Mackmyra, a multi-award-winning Swedish whisky distillery, Angela D’Orazio worked closely with a Finnish technology consultant Fourkind, who created an AI solution based on Microsoft’s Azure platform and Machine Learning Studio. Thus the program was born that made the world’s first AI-created whisky possible.

How AI prepared a recipe

The AI algorithm that came up with new whiskey recipe was created by Fourkind by leveraging Microsoft’s Machine Learning Studio. Some of the first few blends created by the AI were corrected by D’Orazio, who would determine which selected ingredients would work together and which don’t. She also corrected less desirable combinations, which helped the AI understand which combinations go well together and which ones to avoid.

After repeating the process multiple times, recipe number 36 was generated by the AI algorithm. This blend was selected by D’Orazio before it went into production and later, on sale. However, the storage cask for the blend was chosen by D’Orazio since a whiskey’s flavour depends on it.

Even though AI was used to generate new recipes, D’Orazio says, “The work of a Master Blender is not at risk. While the whisky recipe is created by AI, we still benefit from a person’s expertise and knowledge, especially the human sensory part, that can never be replaced by any program.”

What’s next?

While AI did play a role in finding out a new whiskey recipe, it doesn’t mean that the program will entirely take over the distillation process. The key strength of the as is to sift through a large amount of data to come up with new methods and combinations, which might have never been considered before. “We believe that the whisky is AI-generated, but human-curated. Ultimately, the decision is made by a person.” D’Orazio adds.

Main image credits: Microsoft / Mackmyra Photo

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