Stephanie Condon is a senior staff writer for Red Ventures based in Portland, Oregon, covering business technology for ZDNet. Retail -- and grocery in particular -- is a tough business. Grocers operate on razor-thin margins, and they're up against commercial giants like Amazon and Walmart. Increasingly, major grocery chains are turning to AI, edge computing and other innovative technologies to help them bring down costs. But along with Giant Eagle, Whole Foods and other big names in the industry, one small startup in the Atlanta area is betting that a tech-first approach to grocery shopping will help them expand their business across the US.
Time flies when everything is always happening, so it's totally understandable if you forgot Mother's Day is this Sunday! We can't buy you more time, but we can help you find quality deals with quick shipping so you can still get a great gift. Moms are multifaceted marvels, and we've rounded up a variety of products, ranging from headphones and ebook readers to beauty goods and kitchen gadgets. Don't forget to check out our Mother's Day Gift Ideas guide for more recommendations. Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off).
Time flies when everything is always happening, so it's totally understandable if you forgot Mother's Day is this Sunday! We can't buy you more time, but we can help you find quality deals with quick shipping so you can still get a great gift. Moms are multifaceted marvels, and we've rounded up a variety of products, ranging from headphones and ebook readers to beauty goods and kitchen gadgets. Don't forget to check out our Mother's Day Gift Ideas guide for more recommendations. Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you'd like).
In the world of wine reviews, evocative writing is key. Consider the following: "While the nose is a bit closed, the palate of this off-dry Riesling is chock full of juicy white grapefruit and tangerine flavors. It's not a deeply concentrated wine, but it's balanced neatly by a strike of lemon-lime acidity that lingers on the finish." Reading the description, you can almost feel the cool glass sweating in your hand and taste a burst of citrus on your tongue. But the author of this review never had that experience--because the author was a piece of software. An interdisciplinary group of researchers developed an artificial intelligence algorithm capable of writing reviews for wine and beer that are largely indistinguishable from those penned by a human critic.
A team of researchers recently developed an algorithm that generates original reviews for wines and beers. Considering that computers can't taste booze, this makes for a curious use-case for machine learning. The AI sommelier was trained on a database containing hundreds of thousands of beer and wine reviews. In essence, it aggregates those reviews and picks out keywords. When the researchers ask it to generate its own review for a specific wine or beer, it generates something similar to previous reviews.
Machine Learning is playing an important role in hospitality management with major focus on food and accommodation. It is because these two sectors are rapidly changing with time, challenging the industry to be proactive and meet the demand of users with minimal efforts. With the applications of ML the hotel owners are now able to deliver superior services. The implementation of ML in food industry and accommodation businesses is moving the industry to a new level, enabling lower costs for storage and transportation and more importantly producing less waste. The costs for storage and transportation is nowadays reduced to a significant level followed by happy customers, quick service, voice searching, and more personalized orders.
Meat analogues or "plant-based" meats, such as the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger, have received wide media coverage over the past several years. As fast food chains have begun offering meat-free versions of their popular sandwiches, much of this content has been positive, such as my write-up about the Burger King Impossible Whopper for my local newspaper. When compared to their meat counterparts, however, the nutritional "healthiness" of these analogues has not been fully researched. It will require long-term study to determine if they can replace animal meat in a well-rounded diet due to their lack of overall amino acid "completeness," concerns regarding additives and processing, and questions about their sustainability in terms of overall manufacturer impact on the environment. Despite these unknowns, there is still significant interest in creating these foods for several reasons.
Aidan Connolly is the President of AgriTech Capital, a food/farm futurologist, and author of "2-1-4-3, Plan your Explosive Business Growth," Described as the world's least digitized industry by McKinsey analysts (joint last position with hunting), the food producers of the world could only agree that agriculture has struggled to avail of the breakthroughs in technology that have transformed other industries. Uber has disrupted transportation, Netflix the movies, Airbnb the hotel business, online money movers who hold no cash now dominate banking and we purchase apps from companies who don't make them. Yet, farming seems to have changed little in the 10,000 years since the first animals were domesticated, and many believe that it will change little in the coming decades. However, I contend that this view is myopic and fails to recognize the degree of disruption already happening in farming. Sean Moffitt, managing director of Futureproofing, listed the 30 new technologies that both are currently seeing the greatest dollar investments and that industries will require to futureproof themselves for the next decade.
A US-based well-funded pizza delivery startup service wanted to predict the ingredients that make up the most popular orders at any given location and predict the denser location. Experts from Frost Digital Ventures built and deployed a system that predicted demand at the ingredient level relative to each market location. This helped the pizza delivery team determine the most effective place for their orders and the most preferred meal by the customers. With the system, the number of accepted orders increased. There was a reduction in food waste because of proper inventory management.
Research in the field of machine learning and AI, now a key technology in practically every industry and company, is far too voluminous for anyone to read it all. This column aims to collect some of the most relevant recent discoveries and papers -- particularly in, but not limited to, artificial intelligence -- and explain why they matter. This week in AI, scientists conducted a fascinating experiment to predict how "market-driven" platforms like food delivery and ride-hailing businesses affect the overall economy when they're optimized for different objectives, like maximizing revenue. Elsewhere, demonstrating the versatility of AI, a team hailing from ETH Zurich developed a system that can read tree heights from satellite images, while a separate group of researchers tested a system to predict a startup's success from public web data. The market-driven platform work builds on Salesforce's AI Economist, an open source research environment for understanding how AI could improve economic policy.