Is artificial intelligence going to take place instead of perfumers?
In 2016, “Lee sedol”, an Ego game world champion, was defeated four times by an artificial intelligence designed by Google. This game was the end of an era and the beginning of another, as the Ego game is categorized as the most complicated game on the planet.
Such news would never jolt the entity of professionals in the field of art and design, as they thought they are fortified from “the machine” and no matter what level of mathematical intelligence it will reach, it can never gain access to the art world that is filled with sensations, feelings and functions that cannot be calculated by numbers or equations. But day after day, serious attempts are unfold were AI is wearing the hat of an artist. In 2018, the first portrait painted by a robot that is supported by an artificial intelligence system has been sold in an international auction. “The machine” was fed 1500 paintings for the sake of teaching it how to draw a portrait.
Perfumery is not safe from AI as well, as in the year 2018, the Brazilian company “O Boticário” announced their success in designing the first perfume using artificial intelligence. The artificial designed scent was designed by IBM’s AI machine known by “Watson”. O Boticário announced as well that they will launch the perfume in the market early in 2019.
In this article, we want to question whether artificial intelligence can master the art domain, before it gains sensations and feelings? Does is a danger for perfumers or it will support or enhance their creation?
Current artificial intelligence algorithms are counting on educating the machine by feeding it with a tremendous amount of data. These data are divided into an “input” and an “output” such as if an input is: 1+1, then the output is: 2. To train “the machine” we provide it with thousands or millions of inputs and outputs so it can teach itself. To teach the machine arts, the input is previous artworks, (whether they are paintings, musical clips or perfumery designs), and the output is how much people are admire the input (in some cases sales or the value of the artwork can demonstrate in figures how people admire the artwork). Under this mechanism of machine learning, the farthest that artificial intelligence can do is creating an artwork that suits the taste of a wide segment of people and not to present a work that amazes people because of its creativity or feelings, nor its philosophy or the new angle of perspectives. This will push perfumers towards more creativity and passion in discovering new perfumery aspects, and they will leave the machine to design the popular common, mass driven perfumes.
However, from a theoretical point, artificial intelligence will help big companies in reaching perfume designs that are suitable for a wide segment of consumers. This theory will be tested after “O Boticário” launch of their new perfume that was designed to serve this goal. In “O Boticário” case the inputs were chemical compositions of large quantities of perfumes and the output is the acceptance level and sales figures in the Brazilian market. All of this is for the sake to reach a perfume design that is suitable for a wide segment of Brazilian consumers.
Recommendation systems which built in the bases of machine learning will add to the perfume customers experience. It is imagined that one day soon recommendation systems can suggest to the consumer perfumes without even the need of trying the perfume, just like how many recommendation systems in other websites and industries such as YouTube and Amazon. This technique will help online shopping for new perfumes, and it will solve the struggle of “I couldn’t imagine from the description on the website or magazine the smell of the perfume! Shall I buy it without trying it? Will it be suitable for me?”. Taking in consideration that numerous sales in the perfume field are for gifting, recommendation systems will help buyers choose the right perfume for gifting without trouble and confusion.
Back to our question, NOTA NOTA belives that as long as AI lacks feelings and emotions, we can’t imagine that it will take place of the creative perfumer who takes us to his own world, believes and emotions.