Aurélie Jean, doctor of science and entrepreneur: “Algorithms to challenge the world of perfume”.
Doctor of science and entrepreneur, Aurélie Jean has been navigating for more than 15 years in algorithmic and digital science applied to medicine, engineering, finance… Dividing her time between the United States and France, between consulting and development, higher education, research and writing, Aurélie writes regularly for magazines to provide an intelligible reading grid on science and technology. She is the author of three books On the Other Side of the Machine (2019), Learning is Strength (2020), and Do Algorithms Make the Law? (2021) published by L’Observatoire. She is also co-founder of the deep tech company DPEEX in artificial intelligence in the field of precision medicine applied to breast cancer.
You are nicknamed the tamer of algorithms. You say they are the promise of understanding and mastering the world. The technical, mechanical, scientific world… and also that of perfume? Algorithms are used to answer a question, solve a problem or understand the mechanisms of a phenomenon. We can integrate AI into perfumery for many reasons. With Robertet [leader mondial des matières premières naturelles basé à Grasse, ndlr]we decided to use algorithms to further reveal the creativity of the perfumer so that he could concentrate on his primary profession and open up the field of olfactory and creative possibilities.
AI enables speed of execution, precision. However, the perfume designer seems to be part of the long term. Isn’t there an impossible crossing of two worlds? I don’t think so, it is still necessary to build these algorithms well. Ours aims to assist and accompany the perfumer; in no way to disturb it in its timescale or replace it. We have created an algorithm that can look for implicit information on the perfumer’s olfactory signature, on his past creations. It helps the perfumer in his olfactory research by accelerating and deepening it further.
AI is everywhere. How do you see the world (of perfume creation) of tomorrow? AI is everywhere in our everyday tools, without us even realizing it. It helps us to communicate (through messaging or remote conferencing software), to move around (to calculate the shortest route, anticipate traffic, etc.), to work, to learn, even to take care of ourselves (to an examination, a biological test, the evaluation of the performance of a diagnosis or even the management of the logistics of a hospital). The world of perfume will take advantage of AI to strengthen its creative character, challenge it and amplify it. In this, Robertet’s vision is the right one.
What could you say to readers to encourage them to attend the conference? What could they find there? They will learn a new dimension of the application of artificial intelligence in our lives: perfumery. Also that the objective of algorithms is not a priori to replace human beings but to assist them in their job. After working alongside Alexis Dadier, I can tell them that perfumers are irreplaceable!
Alexis Dadier, senior fine fragrance perfumer for Robertet
After a master’s degree in management at Dauphine and a master’s degree in marketing at HEC, Alexis Dadier joined Maison Dior as a product manager for fragrance development. An opportunity that will redirect his career. Mane, in Grasse, offered to train him in perfumery. He will be an apprentice perfumer for three years before joining the Paris offices of this company as a Fine Fragrance Perfumer. About ten years later, he joined Symrise, then IFF and Robertet, where he is now Senior Fine Fragrance Perfumer. In 26 years of career Alexis has collaborated with many international luxury brands and signed, among others, creations for Givenchy, Thierry Mugler, Valentino, Comme des Garçons, Chloe, Jo Malone or Boucheron…
What does this mean for you: Putting AI into your job? Putting AI in my job means putting a new way of thinking about creation! Although the act of creating a perfume is shrouded in mystery and an artistic aura, its development requires precision and the use of technology or research. AI is a technological tool at the service of the creator to optimize his know-how.
What are the strengths, weaknesses and concerns of such progress? I don’t see any weaknesses or concerns that could be generated by the AI insofar as it is not there to create a formula in place of the perfumer but to offer him a complementary creative method. A perfumer’s brain is not a machine, so it’s not always tidy! Our own formula heritage is immense and we don’t think of all that we may have created during our career.
The AI will help us to think ahead of a brief on the idea that we want to develop for this brief, taking into account all our history and all our previous creations. AI thus offers an “augmented reality” of ourselves, of our own style, of our personal know-how.
Does adding AI to the creation of a perfume upset the image that we may have of your expertise, acquired by walking in gardens around flowers and trees? The AI does not take away from our creator personality or the expertise acquired over time. This experience, whatever happens, improves over time according to our experience. AI helps us to think about our entire creative and olfactory life instead of apprehending only a small part, often the most recent. It is a chance given to us to be a “super self” by increasing our potential for reflection and creation. In this, I thank Aurélie Jean who is truly a superwoman!
What could you say to the reader to entice them to attend the conference? Readers will be able to go behind the scenes of the creation of a perfume, which in itself is quite unknown. Above all, they will discover how two disciplines that are a priori very distant come into synergy to create a new fragrance together within the framework of a practical case designed especially for the WAICF conference.
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