back to article Pub landlords on notice as 'Internet of Beer' firm not only pulls pints, but can also clean the lines

Pubbino, the San Francisco biz that believes there simply isn't enough tech involved in pulling pints, is talking up another entry in its "Internet of Beer" range: a line-cleaning system powered, it claims, by AI. Founded in 2015 by Can Algul and Necdet Alpmen, Pubbino combined the pair's primary passions: draft beer and …

  1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge
    Boffin

    Pubbino said the artificially intelligent aspect of the system comes in the form of a "tailor made and fully automatised draft beer line cleaning process" for each of the four lines the system can clean at once – taking into account usage metrics, beer type, cooling system, and length of line.

    So, as with pretty much anything technology-related these days it's not artificial intelligence, it's just got an algorithm that takes some parameters.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No surprise there...

      Marketing. Lol.

      But what is the actual definition of AI?

      Seriously, at what point does a bunch of instructions - or an algorithm in modern parlance - become artificial intelligence?

      1. Pete B

        Re: No surprise there...

        I think it has to be sentient to be fully AI.

        1. batfink Silver badge

          Re: No surprise there...

          When it sends its beer back because it tastes shite?

      2. Cynic_999

        Re: No surprise there...

        "

        Seriously, at what point does a bunch of instructions - or an algorithm in modern parlance - become artificial intelligence?

        "

        I'd say that is when it can create its own complex algorithms to achieve a desired result, based upon logical conclusions drawn from previous outcomes and patterns identified in its input data.

        1. Fading
          Pint

          Re: No surprise there...

          So knowing when to put a northern head on a pint of ale then.....

        2. katrinab Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: No surprise there...

          When it contains an if statement or while loop ...

      3. GlenP Silver badge

        Re: No surprise there...

        But what is the actual definition of AI?

        To my mind the first criteria that's almost never met is that the system must accept feedback from the process and alter future calculations based on that feedback. The old "guess the animal" program that you could access at the Science Museum back when computers were still mysterious machines could do this!

        The system being discussed here is not AI, it's just based on an algorithm.

        I have known a few pubs that would benefit from this though! At one local I used to use regularly you always knew the landlord was on holiday as the beer improved - the first thing his stand-in, who happened to be his son, would do would be to clean the pipes thoroughly.

      4. Dwarf
        Coat

        Re: No surprise there...

        Definition of AI - Alcohol Infusion - must be as simple as that ?

      5. John Geek
        Trollface

        Re: No surprise there...

        /But what is the actual definition of AI?/

        Artificial Ignorance.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Angel

        Re: No surprise there...

        When it goes on strike to protest the quality of the beer.

        That's when I'll grant it the AI moniker. At present I only offer the A monocle.

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        Re: No surprise there...

        >But what is the actual definition of AI?

        The automation of activities that we associate with human thinking, activities such as decision making, problem solving, and learning. – Bellman, 1978.

        But it's a moving target based on what is currently sexy. Expert systems were AI when they were sexy in the 1980s. The current definition is somewhere around machine learning, so neural networks and support vector machines etc. In a few years' time it will be something else. It also helps to have terminology that sounds like human thinking, "expert system", "deep belief network" etc.

        The most useful rule, though, is if someone talks about "Artificial Intelligence" then they are usually trying to sell you something.

        1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

          Re: No surprise there...

          Expert system means "flowchart".

          I've never understood why that counted as AI.

      8. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

        Re: No surprise there...

        "Thou shalt not make a machine in the image of the human mind!"

        Dune.

        It's that simple!

    2. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      More to the point, will they sell to any blockchains of pubs?

    3. gandalfcn Silver badge

      I think Mr. Turing was there first, followed by Asimov.

  2. wolfetone Silver badge
    Pint

    There is something to be said for dirty lines

    I frequented a pub when I was 17 - as I could get served - and the beer was shite. It tasted horrible, but it was cheap, and as I said you could get served without ID or being 18.

    The thing is though, I couldn't drink that crap. So one day I'm at the bar and I can't face another pint of dirty Carling, so I look at the bottles and I see the blue star of Newcastle Brown Ale. It was about 10p more than the Carling, and I thought why not. I'll have it.

    15 years later, I often think back to that pub and what I've learned about beer. Newcastle Brown is a lovely drink, but I'd have never been introduced to it if the lines of the pub had been cleaned.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: There is something to be said for dirty lines

      But the hangovers from NBA though!

      My head the next day -->

    2. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: There is something to be said for dirty lines

      You mentioned beer... so, what's that Carling stuff you talk about?

      Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of great beer (and ale) to be had in many countries, it's just that Carling to me is like... Bud, Cors, Heineken, Stella, Carlsberg, Hansa (the Norwegian stuff), Molson and probably a ton of others. They just don't taste like proper beer, they are bland while being extremely unpleasantly tasting at the same time (especially the aftertaste). So... nah, I'll skip that. I'd rather have a glass of water. Or a nice coffee (though from experience I know that places that serve the above also often have crap coffee).

      And Newky Brown tastes really weird, but maybe that's an acquired taste...

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: And Newky Brown tastes really weird, but maybe that's an acquired taste...

        In my "Youf" it was Courage Tavern Keg, Grotneys Red Barrel or Newky Broon. I chose the latter. It might have been an acquired taste but at least it had some taste when compared to the opposition.

        These days, I prefer a nice pint of Harveys Best (Lewes) or when I'm close to the brewery, Wadworths 6X or Surrey Nirvana (Hogs Back Brewery).

        1. macjules

          Re: And Newky Brown tastes really weird, but maybe that's an acquired taste...

          Or the worst of the lot .. Whitbread Trophy

          1. TseTT
            Facepalm

            Re: And Newky Brown tastes really weird, but maybe that's an acquired taste...

            I can still remember the adverts for that Whitbread Trophy cr*p..

            "Whitbread big head... the pint that thinks it a quart! " Oh my...

        2. KBeee Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: And Newky Brown tastes really weird, but maybe that's an acquired taste...

          I remember Grotneys Red Barrel was becoming weaker and weaker over the years until it was pointed out that if it went any lower in alcohol it'd be allowed to be sold in sweet shops. At the time any drink with less than 2% alcohol was considered to be non alcoholic. You could buy a can of Shandy in a sweet shop that was just under 2%. After the bad publicity Watneys dropped Red Barrel, and replaced it with Watneys Red.

      2. Pen-y-gors
        Pint

        Re: There is something to be said for dirty lines

        Yeah, proper bitter (or mild) beer is really totally different to lager. They are different drinks. I'm not saying that all lager is like pish, because it isn't. In the right time and place it can be quite refreshing, as can a lovely cold pint of cider on a hot day.

        But lager is not for drinking slowly and savouring, as a good pint of Teifi is.

        (Note to El Reg: Can we have a proper bitter beer in a straight glass icon please?)

        1. 42656e4d203239 Bronze badge

          you don't want your beer in a vase?

          >>proper bitter beer in a straight glass icon please?

          When these bendy jars appeared and became more popular than the handled tankards (with the bar staff, if not the customers), I may have been thrown out of a pub in Lymington for asking for "A vase of Flowers"

      3. Stork Silver badge

        Re: There is something to be said for dirty lines

        Part of your experience of some of the listed lagers could be if it is based on the diluted British versions. I think both Carlsberg and Heineken are about 4.5% abv in original versions. My local Super Bock is at 5, and consequently available in smaller bottles so you can have one with lunch and still drive

      4. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

        Re: There is something to be said for dirty lines

        Being a Yank, growing up on the Canadian border Molson Golden Ale was the ambrosia of my life!

        Now, Molson Canadian lager, was shite!

    3. dinsdale54

      Re: There is something to be said for dirty lines

      I don't consider Newcastle Brown a good drink but I drank it as a student for the same reason as you - it was something the bar staff couldn't screw up.

      On a slightly more important note, dirty lines are the single biggest contributor to crap beer quality in pubs. If an automated line cleaning system means more lines get cleaned more often then the can call it anything they want. Even better would be a line monitoring system that would refuse to serve beer that was warm or off.

      Me : I'd like a pint of bitter please.

      HAL : I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: There is something to be said for dirty lines

        I've traveled a bit, and I can handle a warm beer is the custom in some place, but one that turned.... yak!

    4. chivo243 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: There is something to be said for dirty lines

      Newcastle Brown, I'm tellin' ya, it can sure smack you down! I love a couple of NBAs Any beer that makes it into a rock song can't be bad!

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: There is something to be said for dirty lines

        In my pre-legal drinking age days rather than drink the Barfing....I mean Carling, I used to pay about 5p more taking it just over the 50p pint* threshold & drink Hemeling Lite which was much nicer.

        Then there was the occasion with the traditional Sunday night drink with my father, having worked our way through a couple of pints (With whiskey chasers for the coffin dodger) & done the "Just one more pint before you ring the bell please!" several times.

        The time bell duely rang & we patrons were rather surprised to see the landlord then pull pint after pint & told us to drink up rather than pour it away down the sink while he cleaned the lines.

        Staggering home to the scornful Ex Mrs Scorn, burbling something like "You'll neber belif this putt, thay peered out free beer!" in response to her statement of "You said you weren't going to be long.

        My head the following day (Icon) was not good (Understatement), having to ring up my car pool & tell them why I wasn't going into work & then work 45 minutes later. Both calls resulted in the generally same response of "You lucky lucky bastard!".

        *Yes again I'm that old.

        1. vogon00

          Re: There is something to be said for dirty lines

          "Hemeling Lite"

          The only thing I remember about Hemeling was the bastardisation of one of their adverts we used to use: ' Or would you rather be haemorrhaging? '*

          * Tips hat to 'Not the nine o'clock news' for that one...

          1. DiViDeD

            Re: There is something to be said for dirty lines

            There was also the notorious 'no, I'm f*cking Emlyn' joke, of course.

        2. DiViDeD

          Re: There is something to be said for dirty lines

          On my first ever pub visit (our school had a sort of semi official local - The Pembroke Yeoman) at the ripe old age of 15, with a group of school chums (that's what we used to call them back then - chums), I was slowest to sit down, and thus delegated to 'get them in'.

          With no idea of what people drank in pubs, I asked for 6 pints of light. The landlord immediately grabbed 6 bottles of Courage Light (fearsome stuff), and we were so wet that, for the rest of our scholastic career, we drank nothing else.

    5. Spacedinvader
      Thumb Down

      Re: There is something to be said for dirty lines

      Nah, Carling is just shit.

    6. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: There is something to be said for dirty lines

      Back i the early 60s we were told Newcastle Brown didn't travel well. We were about to sail from a shipyard near Newcastle (South Shields) so I bought a few bottles and stashed them under my bunk. Nine months later we were about to arrive back in the UK so I cracked the bottles and found there was nothing wrong with the ale.

    7. You aint sin me, roit
      Pint

      Re: There is something to be said for dirty lines

      In my local every Thursday, ahem after hours, the barmaid used to pull the beer though before cleaning the pipes. Can't let that beer go to waste, so some regulars were invited to dispose of it... and to check the quality of the beer when it was back on tap.

      Would the AI be so obliging? Doubt it :(

  3. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge
    Joke

    draft beer line cleaning process

    When's the final version being released?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: draft beer line cleaning process

      It's a problem. After 8 rounds and comments the committee tends to slur a little and forget what they were doing - and for some reason acquire a traffic cone

    2. Zarno
      Trollface

      Re: draft beer line cleaning process

      Not sure, the RFC was lost after an incident involving IPOAC.

      I looked, there's no beer related RFC's...

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: I looked, there's no beer related RFC's...

        You've forgotten one of the prime ingredients of beer...

        Hops!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "A sports bar and restaurant over here in Douglas Isle of Man has 35 taps, and that is typical in the British Isles - but obviously not in Istanbul."

    Clearly a man who has never been to Istanbul then. The bars I frequent there tend to be much larger than the typical equivalent in the UK or Isle of Man. Not surprising when you consider the sheer size and population of Istanbul itself.

    Or perhaps he's assuming Turks don't drink much, based on their being a predominantly Muslim population. If so, he'd be wrong there too - despite the Islamist ideology of Erdoğan, only ultra-conservative places like Konya clamp down on public drinking.

  5. ShadowSystems Silver badge

    Ummm...

    "The business claims to have inserted AI in some unusual places..."

    Perhaps they should shove some up their arse so it can try to find their failing brains to replace the lack of any intelligence on their part? Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD do it, so smack these wankers upside the noggin with a bungplug & let real Publicans serve their libations however they damn well please.

    *Sets out a keg, thunks the tap home, & leaves it on the bar for All You Can Drink hou- listens to the empty slurping sounds as the keg runs dry, snorts, & goes back for another one*

  6. IGotOut Silver badge

    And when the Internet is down...

    ... or when the company no longer supports it / goes bust / gets bought out, that very expensive AI system is little more than some slowly corroding pipes and cables.

  7. Evilgoat76

    Nothing to see here.

    Beer Piper, a UK company, and more recently Heineken's Smart Dispense have been doing this for years without the marketing bollocks.

    1. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: Nothing to see here.

      Sussex brewers Burning Sky called "Recusant"

  8. DiViDeD

    So 'automatised' is a word now?

    Fuck me, I've been out of circulation way too long!

    1. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: So 'automatised' is a word now?

      Maybe you need to "reach out".

      1. DiViDeD

        Re: Maybe you need to "reach out".

        Tried that. My case comes up next week.

        1. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: Maybe you need to "reach out".

          Norty! I just gave Ecosia a b0ll0cking for using the disgusting term.

  9. Roj Blake

    Magic

    I believe it was Hannah Fry who said that if you can replace "AI" with "magic" in a company's press release and still make sense of it, they're bullshitting you.

    This may be one such case.

  10. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

    All jokes aside, if this technology puts 1 human being out of a job then I am against it.

    We should not be advocating technology that kills common jobs for common people. Not everyone is suited for technological jobs nor Advanced Degrees. We need jobs for regular people.

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