AI, or artificial intelligence, is everywhere. It’s in banking, navigation and travel, and social media to tailor ads on our feeds, among other things.

Now, a Victoria brewery is making beer using an AI-generated recipe. 

Whistle Buoy Brewing partner Isaiah Archer says his team had been playing around with the program ChatGPT, hoping it would help with developing product descriptions and writing social media posts, when they were inspired to try something else.

“As we were typing various things into it, we thought, let’s see what happens if we ask it to give us a beer recipe,” he told CBC’s Rohit Joseph. They asked for a fluffy, tropical hazy pale ale. 

It spat out a recipe that, for the most part, works. 

A recipe for a hazy pale ale
The recipe ChatGPT offered after Whistle Buoy Brewing gave it a prompt. (Submitted by Isaiah Archer)

The result is the brewery’s new Robo Beer, which launched on Friday. 

ChatGPT is an AI tool trained to mimic human responses. It’s been used to write speeches, poems and music. CBC Vancouver even tried using it to write a story about textile waste. 

The recipe wasn’t perfect — Archer said it initially gave measurements for a homebrew batch. When it was adjusted for a larger brewing operation, he said it didn’t quite make sense, so they had to make some changes. 

“We had to add some human intervention,” Archer said. 

A sign reading Robo Beer Hazy Pale Ale, contains lactose, soft, juicy, robotic
Whistle Buoy Brewing’s Robo Beer launched on Feb. 18. (Rohit Joseph/CBC)

The response during the Robo Beer launch was mostly positive, he said, adding some people questioned how ‘craft’ the beer was if it was developed by AI. 

“We’re not saying it’s good or bad, but the beer that it told us to produce tastes solid,” Archer said.

CBC tech columnist and digital media expert Mohit Rajhans says while some people are hesitant about programs like ChatGPT, AI is already here, and it’s all around us. Health-care, finance, transportation and energy are just a few of the sectors using the technology in its programs.

“I think from an ethics standpoint, we will have to iron out how we feel about using this technology very soon in order for us to figure out how much we want to actually integrate it into our lives well,” he told All Points West host Jason D’Souza.

A man pours a beer from a tap
Since its launch, the AI-generated Robo Beer at Whistle Buoy Brewing has been popular, partner Isaiah Archer says. (Rohit Joseph/CBC)

Whistle Buoy doesn’t plan to use this method for future brews, but Archer said they may use it to ask questions and guide the process. 

In fact, they already employ AI for their point-of-sale system and in other areas that require technology. 

“Those things aren’t necessarily replacing our ability to think for ourselves, but there are tools that assist us to be able to deliver the products and the experiences that we seek to deliver to our customers so I think seeing it as another tool in the box is a useful perspective for us.”

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