Kitchen disruption on the horizon as tech firms add AI, big data to food production The Japan Times


WASHINGTON – Looking for that perfect recipe, or a new flavor combination that delights the senses? Increasingly, players in the food industry are embracing artificial intelligence to better understand the dynamics of flavor, aroma and other factors that go into making a food product a success. Earlier this year, IBM became a surprise entrant to the food sector, announcing a partnership with seasonings maker McCormick to "explore flavor territories more quickly and efficiently using AI to learn and predict new flavor combinations" by utilizing data collected from millions of data points. The partnership highlights how technology is being used to disrupt the food industry by helping develop new products and respond to consumer preferences and offer improved nutrition and flavor. "More and more, food companies are embracing digitization and becoming data-driven," said Bernard Lahousse, co-founder of Foodpairing, a startup with offices in Belgium and New York that develops digital food "maps" and algorithms to recommend food and drink combinations.

eBay (EBAY) Acquires Expertmaker


"Today, eBay announced it has agreed to acquire Sweden-based Expertmaker, which specializes in providing intelligent solutions powered by artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and big data analytics. Expertmaker has been a partner of eBay's since 2010, most recently helping with eBay's structured data initiative. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Upon the close of the transaction, Expertmaker's employees will join eBay's structured data product and technology team. Expertmaker's Founder and CEO, Lars Hard, will join as Director, Data Science reporting into Amit Menipaz's organization.

McDonald's Acquires Machine-Learning Startup Dynamic Yield for $300 Million


Mention McDonald's to someone today, and they're more likely to think about Big Mac than Big Data. But that could soon change: The fast-food giant has embraced machine learning, in a fittingly super-sized way. McDonald's is set to announce that it has reached an agreement to acquire Dynamic Yield, a startup based in Tel Aviv that provides retailers with algorithmically driven "decision logic" technology. When you add an item to an online shopping cart, it's the tech that nudges you about what other customers bought as well. Dynamic Yield reportedly had been recently valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars; people familiar with the details of the McDonald's offer put it at over $300 million.

eBay Inc.: eBay Agrees to Acquire SalesPredict - The Wall Street Transcript


Today eBay announced it will acquire SalesPredict, an Israel-based company that leverages advanced analytics to predict customer buying behavior and sales conversion. SalesPredict is eBay's latest acquisition that will support its artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science efforts. It follows eBay's recent acquisition of Expertmaker, in order to further bolster our structured data efforts. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Upon the close of the transaction, a number of SalesPredict's employees will join eBay's structured data organization, working from eBay's Israeli Development Center in Netanya.

eBay Acquires Artificial Intelligence Technology


Last year, he told Wall Street analysts that eBay looks at the world through listings, which unlike the catalog approach (used by Amazon, for example), are transient. They come and go and don't have "link equity," he said, "and they're hard to attach content to." One eBay executive referred to the initiative as "make or break" for eBay. Expertmaker founder and CEO Lars Hard will join as Director of Data Science and will report to Menipaz. Prior to founding Expertmaker, Hard was involved in founding a variety of startups with a focus in advanced AI, machine learning, math and big data, including and Dragonfire Research.