NEW AI TECHNOLOGY IS ABLE TO PRDICT HOW SOMETHING WILL SMELL WITH SIMPLE CHEMICAL ANALYSIS
I’m pretty unsurprised to hear that there is already new AI that has the ability to tell humans how something will smell with just a simple analysis of chemical structures. And while that’s pretty darn cool, I’m a little dismayed by some of the implications. But I had some early fascination with this from two different eras of my own education. In high school, I remember being pretty stoked to learn about ethers of carboxylic acids, which usually have a range of sweet smells. In other words, you knew how something would smell from its chemical makeup. The idea of knowing what molecular combinations represented particular smells was pretty amazing, I thought.
IF AI CAN NOW PREDICT CHEMICAL TO SMELL CONNECTION, HOW WILL THIS AFFECT CUISINE ENGINEERING?
But I guess I still think so. Later on, I took a two semester class series in grad school talking about the food chain as represented by (mostly) Western consumption. That really means it was a detailed focus on what we eat in America. And when it came to cuisine engineering, particularly popular fast food chains, smells defining tastes to encourage appetites and more eating and drinking became a pretty disturbing focus. And I remember thinking very clearly how things would change when industry could design smells from the get-go once they knew how every chemical combination would represent in our noses and on our taste buds.
FAST FOOD AND GROCERY CHAINS, INDUSTRY IN GENERAL WILL USE THIS CHEMICAL ANALYSIS TO MANIPULATE OUR DIETS
And here we are today, with scientists from Google Research who started their own startup, Osmo, who say they’re own specially designed AI can do just that. You probably already know at least one of the general implications I was concerned about, cuisine engineering, or food design, with consumer applications being at the forefront. Every fast food chain in the world will want to apply this new technology to make you eat and drink more, and spend more money on food that ages you faster and negatively impacts your health. That’s concerning enough. But every grocery chain that makes their own products will jump in, too. Chemical smells and resultant tastes that manipulate your diet choices. Or lack thereof, anyway.
And lastly, what will the world be like when bad actors use this technology for poisons or drug delivery? And will governments also want to use this for crowd control applications? I figure that’s enough to chew on, using a turn of phrase. I’m sure you can think of others things with this new AI chemical smell identifier to cause concern…