Artificial intelligence (AI) powers computer games, medical studies, shopping, scientific breakthroughs, and … beer brewing?
IntelligentX Brewing Co. has introduced what it calls "the world's first beer brewed by artificial intelligence." The London-based microbrewery is putting a new twist on an old tradition, using machine learning and a Facebook Messenger bot to spot trends and improve its product.
"We currently live in a world where companies are using our data to target more advertising at us. We believe we can do something more useful with data," IntelligentX co-founder Hew Leith said in a statement to PCMag. "We can use data to create better products that improve over time.
"In this example we [are] combining customer feedback data and a machine-learning algorithm to determine what consumers like about our beers, then brew new versions which are more finely tuned to people's tastes," he continued. "This is the future of data. It's not about using information to target people with annoying ads."
Currently selling four ales—golden, amber, pale, and black—IntelligentX encourages customers to follow up with their AI system, called ABI (Automatic Brewing Intelligence) to provide feedback. The program, according to Wired, asks questions about preference and flavor; answers are typically marks out of 10, "yes" or "no," and multiple choice.
Brewers then receive and test those comments in an effort to tweak their recipes before producing another batch. The first four drinks have evolved 11 times in 12 months.
"Contrary to popular belief, we don't believe AI is going to take everyone's jobs," Leith said. "We believe the future is a place where AI augments humans' skills.
"In this case we're using AI to give our brewer superhuman skills, enabling them to test and receive feedback on our beer more quickly than ever before," Leith added. "This means we can respond to consumers' changing tastes faster than traditional brewers."
Don't expect to find IntelligentX's exclusive "pirate black" bottles in your local liquor store or supermarket, though. The beer is available in "extremely limited editions," on sale for £4.50 each at UBrew in London.
The bottles will soon be available to order online via IntelligentX, which is in talks with Michelin-starred restaurants to stock the beer. And while the product is available only in the UK for now, the company is eyeing an expansion into the US—specifically Silicon Valley.
A collaboration between machine-learning firm Intelligent Layer and creative agency 10x, the UK team hopes their AI could eventually help them win a major beer brewing competition, like CAMRA's Champion Beer of Britain.
IntelligentX plans to open-source every unique recipe created by its algorithm, allowing anyone to recreate their favorite flavors at home.
"Our beer is one of the world's first uses of AI to improve physical products," Hew said, suggesting artificial intelligence has "huge potential" to transform markets like perfume, coffee, and chocolate.