Predicting Human Nature With AI1

February 22, 2019

A potential leap forward in predicting human behavior through AI is originating in a very unlikely place: The spice aisle of your grocery store. Seriously. AI and data analytics are moving into interesting territory and the results might be of interest to as far reaching places as the intelligence community. We learned more from a recent Engadget story, “How McCormick and IBM Will Use AI to Create the Next Big Spice.”

According to the story:

“IBM Research unveiled a version of this technology the Philyra AI as a tool to accelerate the creation of new and novel scents for the fragrance industry. “It is a system that uses new and advanced machine learning algorithms to sift through hundreds of thousands of formulas and thousands of raw materials…helping identify patterns and novel combinations.”

While this might seem silly to pay attention to, the results could be a bigger sign than simply what we should be sprinkling on our dinner. In fact, if this experiment does yield something customers truly want, it’s a sign of AI’s ability to predict human nature. This doesn’t necessarily make for happy bedfellows, as evidenced by the recent uproar of Palantir partnering with intelligence organizations. Keep an eye on these developments, because we’ll be feeling the aftershocks for years.

And let’s use these tools to spot objectionable content.

Patrick Roland, February 22, 2019

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