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Erica Kato Marcus, Director, Strategy & Partnerships, Sony AI Inc.

Exploring the Future of Gastronomy with AI and RoboticsErica Kato Marcus, Director, Strategy & Partnerships, Sony AI Inc.

As in many other industries, Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics present exciting new opportunities for the food and beverage industry. The number of food tech companies in this domain are on the rise, and established companies are actively exploring the use of these new technologies in all aspects of their operations from product development to factory automation to customer services.

Sony is a creative entertainment company, and as a member of the Sony family, Sony AI’s focus is to drive fundamental research and development of AI and robotics in the realm of entertainment. In addition to games, music, film and animation, we believe gastronomy to be a new entertainment domain in which technology could play a role in creating new experiences and assist chefs, who are creators, to better connect with eaters around the world.

To explore opportunities in this space, we are partnering with chefs to understand how technologies like AI and robotics could assist them with their creative endeavors in the kitchen. You can see some of our early conversations with world leading chefs in our Chef Interview Series as well as some key learnings in the blog, Eight Things We Learned About the World’s Best Chefs.

One of the major recurring themes through these conversations was not only to create dishes that delight eaters, but also one that is healthy for the planet and people. We heard from the chefs that they were eager to adopt new technology that would help them achieve these goals and this reconfirmed our core tenet of Sony AI’s gastronomy project in assisting chefs create dishes which are delicious, sustainable and healthy.

In addition to dialoguing with chefs, we are also collaborating with food experts, universities, research institutes and food companies who share our mission and are eager to work with us.

One of these partnerships is a project with Korea University that is already pushing our understanding of how AI can meaningfully pair ingredients which we talk about in our blog Ingredient Pairing with Flavor Graph. To create tasteful pairings, one must have an in-depth understanding of ingredients, including not only flavor, but also color, texture, and even chemical composition. Through this partnership and others, we are exploring how AI combined with vast amounts of food and ingredient data can assist chefs in one of the essential steps in the new recipe or menu creation process.

As Sony AI is still a relatively new company, which was founded in April 2020, we look forward to continuing our research and sharing our progress with you along the way. In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you if you have any collaboration ideas.

And please enjoy a concept video, which shows our vision of an AI Assisted Recipe Creation System that chefs can use to create a delicious, sustainable and healthy meal for their customers.

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