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News Link • Robots and Artificial Intelligence

How Starbucks Is Using Artificial Intelligence

•, Jon Quast

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) CEO Kevin Johnson is determined to deliver a company culture centered around meaningful human interaction. This month, he announced a new "brew" that figures to be a big part of this culture.

Called Deep Brew, this isn't about a flavor of coffee or tea. Deep Brew is the company's artificial intelligence (AI) program, and it's all about "nurturing humanity," as Johnson put it.

The AI coffee shop?

If this sounds really strange, maybe rethinking AI would be helpful. At its core, it's about teaching computers to find patterns in data sets too big for humans to analyze. For example, AI company Atomwise looks for new compounds to be used in drugs to better treat diseases. Its AI system goes through 100 million compounds every day looking for solutions, something obviously beyond human ability.

For Starbucks, AI will be going through the mounds of data it already has in areas like scheduling, inventory, and restaurant traffic. It will automate scheduling and inventory, and it will be tailored to each restaurant. Scheduling and inventory are necessary tasks, but monotonous and uncreative, which is why Starbucks wants to free employees from having to focus attention on them.