Tuesday 24 January 2017

New Rum Created Using Artificial Intelligence


If you've ever wanted to bottle up and save that holiday feeling - a new AI-produced drink could be just the ticket.

"Holiday Spirit" is claimed to be the world's very first data-distilled rum and was created using IBM Watson.

The supercomputer analysed data from social media posts in order to produce a bespoke rum "that tastes like a holiday".

“In just six hours Watson was able to read 15 million posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter relating to holidays - and find the predominant emotions and concepts in those posts,” explained Joe Harrod, big data analyst and AI expert, who works closely with Watson.

“The machine then showed that feelings like joy and excitement should be part of a perfect holiday moment.

“Then Watson read 5,000 rum reviews from review sites around the web, matching emotions from the reviews with ingredients. For example, Watson picked out that cask-aged rums often tasted exciting and it already knew that excitement is a key ingredient in holidays - so the final recipe was for aged rum.”

The unusual beverage was created for Virgin Holidays with the help of rum expert Ian Burrell who acted as the master blender to ensure that the supercomputer's results were replicated accurately in the limited-edition rum.

"The Virgin Holiday Spirit has a subtle vanilla flavour, medium sweetness, hints of coconut and is naturally caressed with cinnamon and allspice,” said Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador.

“It was my first time collaborating with a supercomputer to create a distinct blend, so we ensured a high level of quality control to deliver a premium palette experience.”

The drink is designed to capture the home of rum in the Caribbean.

While rum is widely produced on many of the Caribbean islands, Barbados is home to Mount Gay rum - the oldest rum brand in the world, still operating today.

The oldest existing documentation for the company dates it all the way back to 1703.

Barbados has more than 1,600 rum shops and a number of distilleries including Mount Gay and Foursquare.

<>pThe rum in the final blend was largely derived from Foursquare, along with a small amount from Worthy Park in Jamaica.

“Things like the sugar cane growing conditions, the barrels the rum is kept in and the distillation processes all impact flavour. We needed to blend the Barbados rum with a small amount of rum from Jamaica to stay true to the Watson recipe,” said rum expert Mr Burrell.

Only 800 bottles of the AI-designed spirit will be available to buy from 24 January in nine of Virgin’s V-Room shops across the UK including locations at Bluewater, the Trafford Centre, Lakeside and Merry Hill.

The techie beverage can be ordered as part of a cocktail and is also being sold by the bottle for £59.

“There's no reason that this 'taste sensation' couldn’t be recreated for all kinds of experiences and emotions. We've already seen robot bartenders that can mix custom cocktails for every different punter based on their personality,” said Mr Harrod.

Last year, IBM Watson was used to produce a cookbook of bizarre recipes .

Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson was produced after the supercomputer was trained with "food pairing theories and hundreds of thousands of complex relationships between flavour compounds”.

In 2011, the supercomputer vanquished its human rivals in a special version of US TV game show Jeopardy.



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