The Perfect Beer: Using Artificial Intelligence to Personalize Goods
What if every product you purchased or consumed was made exactly to your liking at practically no extra cost? This is not just wishful thinking. Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well as some intrepid entrepreneurs, this future may be closer than one might think.
Traditionally, personalized goods have been expensive. Preferences, tastes, and specifications often have to be manually converted into feasible designs, and the production process itself is highly involved and difficult to automate. Thus, mass-produced products tend to dominate markets, whereas personalized goods occupy a small niche only accessible by those with an abundance of income.
Like many labor-intensive, highly “human” processes, the production of personalized goods has the potential to be dramatically altered by artificial intelligence. AI has already been incorporated into the mass production of goods; many companies use natural language processing and sentiment analysis to analyze reviews and gain insight into their respective markets, what flaws their products have, and how their products can be improved. This is known as “mass personalization.” Products are not being personalized for individual consumers, but they are being altered to best suit their overall audience.
Thankfully, the production of individually personalized goods can be made possible using nearly the same methods as mass personalization. Specifically, rather than collecting mass sentiment, companies can collect the sentiment of individual users. Then, they can use that sentiment to deliver a highly tailored service or product. This already takes place online: recommended videos and personalized ads use similar techniques and are incredibly commonplace. In fact, whenever you indicate that you like or dislike something online, your feedback is likely being considered. However, such technology is only beginning to make its way into tangible products, largely due to difficulties in manufacturing that aren’t encountered with online products and services.
One of the trailblazers in artificial intelligence-basedpersonalized goods is IntelligentX Brewing. What exactly are they brewing? Intelligent beer. Their process is relatively straightforward: you receive beer in the mail and fill out a survey saying what you liked and didn’t like about it. An algorithm parses this feedback and uses it to create your “profile,” which allows IntelligentX to finetune your next shipment to your preferences. As a mathematician might say, the beer approaches personal perfection as time approaches infinity.
Personalized beer may seem trivial, but small increases in individual happiness can aggregate to vastly improve societal satisfaction and productivity. As other products and companies follow down this same path, the cost of personalization will be driven lower and lower, making it so that everybody can afford goods made with their exact tastes in mind.
Written by Daniel DiPietro & Edited by Rachel Weissman & Alexander Fleiss
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