Is Artificial Intelligence really better at judging what humans want? Microsoft continues to bet big on artificial intelligence (AI), including in the retail sector. The company has shown off a rather versatile capability of its AI, at the London Tech Week 2019. At an ice cream kiosk. Yes, you read that right. Microsoft will map your expressions and suggest which ice cream you should be eating at that time.
Microsoft says that they use the Emotion Recognition API, from the Azure Cognitive Services for this particular deployment. The way this works is that you walk up to an ice cream kiosk, and let the cameras installed there as a part of the AI setup detect your face. Microsoft will then show you a bunch of images, including that of a tree and a nice beach somewhere, and will capture your reactions. This will then calculate your age, gender and mood to make a suggestion for ice cream.
Microsoft does say that all the images that they capture are deleted after they have processed an ice cream suggestion for you. Yours truly ended up with Lemon Sorbet as the suggestion, even though I thought I was in the mood for a strawberry ice cream. Maybe I was wrong. Or was I?
At the ice cream kiosk at the London Tech Week, the statistics dashboard suggested that the Microsoft Azure powered ice cream recommendations were not skewed towards any particular flavour. At the time we experienced this AI at work, 44 percent of recommendations made to ice cream eaters were for Vanilla, 26 percent were recommended Strawberry and 23 percent were recommended Lemon Sorbet. The AI also detected the age of the ice cream buyers—44 percent were in the age group of 30-45 years, 47 percent were in the age group of 18-30 years and only 4 percent were in the age group of 45 to 60 years. Also, 65 percent were males while 35 percent of ice cream buyers were female.
“As we prepare to leave the EU, now more than ever is the time for UK businesses to be exploring opportunities in overseas markets like India. Realising the potential of world-leading digital hubs like the UK and India, we can together create a culture of innovation, pave the way for the next generation of technological advancement and solve global challenges together,” says Amo Kalar, Deputy Director, Trade and Innovation, British High Commission.