In confectionary, candy, sweets and chocolate it may seem a little far fetched to talk about how artificial intelligence is having an increasing influence over the industry, but it’s starting to take over in surprising ways that you may not have even considered.
Having said that, artificial intelligence is now dictating much of our lives in ways we don’t even think about. The advertising we see, road planning and traffic lights, the order in which you see social media posts and the ways in which we farm and distribute resources.
In a Forbes article from last year they started to delve into the surprising ways in which artificial intelligence already shapes our lives. They estimate that artificial intelligence will contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030.
Artificial intelligence, for example, already controls what gets suggested to you via your Netflix, Sky, Amazon and other shopping subscriptions. Most of us now have artificial intelligence technology in our homes in the form of smart speakers and virtual assistants even if, like me, you only use it to play music.
Artificial intelligence also filters your emails for you, with services such as Gmail now using AI to divert what it considers to be spam, rather than you having to manually tell your filters what to block.
Another more invasive method is banks and finance companies using AI to monitor for fraud and also checking your banking behaviour to see whether you’d be a good candidate for a mortgage or loan. The speed in which you spend your wages, how much you spend with online bookmakers, who your gas and electric is with, these are all things that inform your bank about your behaviour and allows them to make decisions about you.
Artificial intelligence in confectionary
Let’s stop for a moment to consider then how this might affect our industry in the future. One way is that AI may be able to allow people to farm sugar and other resources in increasingly difficult farming environments.
At the present moment, for example, you won’t find many sugar cane plantations around the UK, and similarly you won’t find many pineapple farms in Scotland. What if, however, artificial intelligence could allow farmers to construct a completely artificial environment, monitored for optimum conditions by algorithms and computations.
Forbes again wrote an article regarding how AI could transform agriculture, noting “With the help of AI, farmers can now analyse a variety of things in real time such as weather conditions, temperature, water usage or soil conditions collected from their farm to better inform their decisions.”
Artificial intelligence smart supermarkets
One development which you may find exciting or disturbing depending on your viewpoint is smart supermarkets that don’t have any checkouts or assistants, and simply monitor what you put into your basket and what you leave with before charging your card upon exit.
Amazon are the pioneers of this particular venture, but the implications for the future are pretty massive. One prediction is that supermarkets will be able to monitor your activities whilst inside, according to what you look at and how you react to certain products, and prioritise their products accordingly.
Another thing that’s likely to be coming in sooner rather than later is electronic labels. Currently you’ll be browsing paper labels which requires human intervention to change, whereas many supermarkets in the US are now using electronic screens instead, which means that prices and products can be changed almost instantly.
Realistically this should be a positive for retailers as more options and more choice will become essential to keep pace with a new breed of consumers. Candy retailers in particular can take advantage of this new technology and a new breed of consumer that wants new and exciting products.