Will Artificial Intelligence Impact Meals at Meetings in 2018?

Author: David McMillin       

The conversation around digital experiences tends to focus on the tools that remote attendees might use — live-streaming platforms, VR goggles, chat forums, and other tools that help create some of the feelings of being face-to-face. However, the new edition of “The Future 100 from J. Walter Thompson Intelligence” spotlights a surprising area that digital will disrupt in 2018: the food on our plates.

“In a connected world obsessed with food photography, image recognition may well be the easiest route to calorie counting,” according to the report. “AI will become commonplace in the food and drink industry, enabling consumers to simply point their phones and discover all the facts about their food.”

The report gives a nod to Passio, a food-tech startup that specializes in AI and machine-learning tools for tracking food intake and health. While the company is still in its infancy, it has some grown-up goals. Dmitriy Starson, co-founder, president, and CEO of Passio, sees a range of possibilities for well-informed eaters. “Our team is excited about the world where we can know track and understand our diets without any significant effort, the world where information about nutrition is essentially ambient and where people no longer need to spend time on food journaling or a cumbersome logging process,” Starson wrote in a blog post in 2017, “but rather can spend that time sharing their joy with their families and friends while enjoying healthy and delicious meals.”

An increasing number of meetings have focused on incorporating on-site wellness initiatives in recent years. Yoga classes, 15-minute stretching sessions, and walking challenges are only the beginning, though. Forward-thinking organizations and convention-center kitchens will partner with companies like Passio to give attendees a complete picture of what they’re consuming.

Will it start to happen this year? That timeline may be aggressive, but it’s clear that the events industry will need to operate at an accelerated pace. As more attendees arrive with vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, paleo, food allergies, and other dietary requests, the simplicity of having them answer their own questions about foods at meals and breaks with a swipe of their smartphone is extremely appealing.

AI will do more than deliver goodness to attendees’ plates. Click here to read a Convene feature on how it will elevate human interaction.

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