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Microsoft, Machine Learning, Marketing and . . . Whisky? 🥃

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Can artificial intelligence create the perfect whisky?

As an avid whisky fan myself, I’m skeptical. But, Sweden-based Mackmyra Whisky is planning to find out, with the help of Finnish tech company Fourkind and Microsoft.

The distillery is using machine learning models, powered by Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and Azure cognitive services, to predict the quality and popularity of new recipes. The models consider existing recipes, sales data, customer preferences and cask types to generate more than 70 million potential recipes.

According to Microsoft:

This is not only faster than a person carrying out the process manually, but thanks to the algorithm’s ability to sift through and calculate a vast amount of data, new and innovative combinations that would otherwise never have been considered, can be found. It’s important to stress, however, that this AI solution is not designed to replace a Master Blender.

“The work of a Master Blender is not at risk,” Angela D’Orazio, Master Blender at Mackmyra states. “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. We believe that the whisky is AI-generated, but human-curated. Ultimately, the decision is made by a person.“

So, how will the AI-generated whisky stack up against age-tested, human-crafted recipes? We’ll have to wait and find out in Autumn 2019 when Mackmyra’s AI whisky hits the market.

And don’t expect this to be the last you hear of AI-generated products and services. Jarno Kartela, Machine Learning Partner at Fourkind, the company behind the Mackmyra whisky, envisions AI systems being used globally to produce recipes for, “sweets, perfumes, beverages, and maybe even sneaker designs.”

Read, Meet the world’s first AI-created whisky, to learn more about the history of whisky making, and how Microsoft, Fourkind and Mackmyra are looking beyond to a future of human + machine marketing.

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