ISSN : 2266-6060

With a little help from my artificial friend


When it comes to wine, supermarkets organize fairs with hundreds of references at an unbeatable price every fall. One can prefer small specialized wineshops, which provide tailored advice to customers demand for a product which value depends nowadays more and more on a prescriptive literature. To combine the best of both marketing worlds , engineers have invented Max, the sommelier that helps you choose your wine.
It was nearly twenty-eight years ago, when another Max, a semi-virtual creature threatened to lay off not only the already out of fashion TV anchors , but also star hosts . Back then, expert systems promised to sum up the knowledge of the most technical professions, transforming the medical and legal arts in set of rules for the development of a true artificial intelligence.
Also, it had been easy for me to produce a tight disertation for my philosophy A-Level on the question: « are there functions in human beings that can not be delegated to machines? » and write well beyond Plato’s pharmakon. But I had not imagined, nor computer people had promised that the aggregation of a bar code reader, a touchscreen, a database, a thermal printer, and, of course, a plastic figure and appropriate instructions, in a not too distant future, would emulate a sommelier.