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IntelligentX Brews Up RoboBeer


IntelligentX is using artificial intelligence to brew next generation beer.

London’s tech start-up scene is second only to Silicon Valley. While today’s tech gods have revolutionized the way we interact with the world,  I’m glad to see one company has finally put their minds to work on something truly useful: beer. large_187e8f7c-331c-4b3f-800a-a61bcd5b725b

Rob McInerney and Hew Leith recently launched IntelligentX to produce the world’s first beer brewed by artificial intelligence. How does it work?  Each bottle of AI beer comes with a Facebook Messenger code attached. After entering that code into the Messenger app, you can answer questions from a bot – what do you usually drink, would you prefer more hops, etc. The bot submits the customer response into an algorithm and produces a customized brew recipe for the human brewers.

Critics will assume that the Intelligent X beer is generic, lacking the intangible quality that mythologizes brewing; it’s an art form, not a science, they’ll say. Leith says: “This isn’t an amalgamation of scores, it’s the algorithm learning from people’s feedback using reinforcement learning.” The AI evolves its recipes as a result of trial and error with customer feedback. The master brewers are still applying their artisanship; the AI system is just endowing the brewers with superhuman skills that allow feedback from thousands of consumers.

IntelligentX and its innovators are showing glimpses of the production power that artificial intelligence could wield in the future. First machines replaced manufacturing workers, and now they’re undermining the brew-master, before we know it we’ll be surrounded by terminators and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

No matter what the future holds, it’s strangely comforting knowing that the smartest people in the world are working so hard to make it easier to enjoy killing our brain cells.