Artificial Intelligence Can Now Create Perfumes, Even Without A Sense Of Smell

Isn’t a sense of smell a critical part of creating perfume? While it’s not unimportant, a lot of the groundwork when developing a new fragrance is done by evaluating data, and that’s something artificial intelligence is highly qualified to do. In a partnership between IBM Research and Symrise, a global producer of fragrances and flavors based in Germany with clients such as Estee Lauder, Donna Karan, Avon, Coty and more, the first AI-developed scent is now available for purchase in Brazil.

Meet Philyra

Philyra became the artificial intelligence (AI) apprentice IBM created that perfumer David Apel worked alongside to create two new fragrances for Brazilian cosmetics company O Boticário in time for the country’s Valentine’s Day holiday this year. They were specifically looking for a fragrance to sell to Generation Z and millennials who they knew would be intrigued by a fragrance created by AI. This collaboration officially launched AI into the fragrance industry.

How does Philyra work?

There are 1,300 scent building blocks (synthetic fragrances and extracts from flowers, mosses, spices, and fruits) that are available to a perfumer. Symrise has a database of 1.7 million formulas made from various combinations of these substances, and this database was shared with Philyra. Philyra was also given information about what fragrances sold well among different genders, age groups, and countries. After analyzing the data with a deep-learning algorithm, the AI system (that’s unencumbered with cultural bias, personal preference, knowledge, experience or comfort with a substance) found possibilities that hadn’t been explored previously. From the data, Philyra output perfume formulas that should perform well for a target group. The perfumer stepped in to refine the AI-generated formulas. It’s important to understand that Philyra’s deep-learning algorithm allows it to learn how various ingredients can be combined and is not just acting based on what a human programmed it to do.

The beauty of the AI analyzing the data and suggesting formulas is it results in formulas that humans had never considered before for whatever reason. Turns out the sense of smell isn’t the most critical aspect of creating a new fragrance; it’s understanding the perfume’s composition. 

This article originally appeared on forbes.com To read the full article, click here.

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