Sushi fan? Perhaps you’ve already had the experience of eating a sushi dish that disappointed you greatly? In any case, this is what happened to Kazuhiro Shimura, the director of the advertising company Futura Creative Center of the Future Dentsu group, reports Reuters. This culinary misadventure led the entrepreneur to develop an artificial intelligence system that would make sure you eat sushi that was prepared with quality tuna.
It was while watching a television show about fish merchants that the idea of creating “Tuna Scope” emerged from Shimura. The program in question showed how these merchants had spent decades gaining the experience of selecting high-quality tuna to supply sushi restaurants.
Shimura decided that Tuna Scope would be a smartphone app that could be used anywhere and could create a “unified grading standard” for an industry that relies on local know-how. The company director collaborated with the Japanese trading company Sojitz Corp to develop his technology.
2 million tons of tuna are consumed each year worldwide
Although not necessarily aware of this, the tuna market can soar to millions. According to Reuters, high-quality fish, which can weigh up to 300 kg each, have sold for more than $3 million at tuna auctions. And according to data from the Organization for the Promotion of Responsible Tuna Fishing, the world’s tuna consumption reaches 2 million tonnes per year, a quarter of which would be consumed in Japan.
According to Shimura, many fish merchants in the Maldives, Spain, the United States, Taiwan and other countries have contacted him since the beginning of the pandemic to talk about Tuna Scope because travel restrictions prevented suppliers from verifying the quality of the tuna they were receiving.
Dilemma between technology and cultural heritage
The interest of the application would be, according to Shimura, that “people can be sure to get delicious tuna”.” One of Shimura’s customers, Shingo Ishii, who lives in Misaki Megumi, near Tokyo, uses Tuna Scope to check the quality of tuna on a metal tray. He said the tool would have a good chance of becoming “a common tool over the next 10 to 20 years.”
Nevertheless, lshii admits to having mixed feelings about a technology that, while it should facilitate its work, could also threaten knowledge and know-how that has been passed down for generations.