|Microsoft announced its partnership with Finnish tech company Fourkind and Sweden-based distillery Mackmyra Whisky to make a whiskey by using artificial intelligence / Photo by: Finlay McWalter via Wikimedia Commons|
Microsoft announced its partnership with Finnish tech company Fourkind and Sweden-based distillery Mackmyra Whisky last week as they produce the "world’s first whiskey developed with artificial intelligence."
The entire process of making whiskey—from distillation, creating a specific recipe, up to adjusting variables and other ingredients—is usually all done by humans with a specialized set of skills, TechCrunch reports.
That's how the traditional process normally works until the AI blend comes into play. For the partnership, Mackmyra will no longer have humans handle a part of the whiskey-making process job and will instead be handed over to machines.
Mackmyra feeds its existing recipes, sales data, and customer preferences to machine learning models that would help the AI come up with suggestions on which recipes the distillery would make next.
According to the alcohol maker, the AI tech can generate over 70 million recipes. Among these recipes, the AI will highlight those it deems will gain popularity and of the highest quality, based on the cask types—where the whiskey is distilled for years—that are currently available.
Microsoft's Azure cloud platform and cognitive services power these machine learning models, TechCrunch says, while Fourkind developed the AI algorithms involved in the distillation process.
Mackmyra notes that it is not actually replacing its Master Blenders with AI. Instead, it is employing the technology to create the recipes, which will then be curated by the distillery's human experts.
"The work of a Master Blender is not at risk," said Master Blender Angela D'Orazio. "While the whiskey 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."
D'Orazio added that they believe the whiskey will be "AI-generated, but human-curated" since the decision will be ultimately made by a person.
This is the first time that AI has been used in the whiskey-making process, said Microsoft, and the finished product will be available by autumn of this year.