Makr Shakr is not trying to replace bartenders, as might be suspect. The drinks I sampled were generally decent. Or as decent as the person who created them envisioned them. But bartending is more art than science, and the processing of flavors is still best done with the human touch. Not only will this help you discover a drink you might like, it also gives you a pedigree of the creation of that drink. First thing Let’s say you are looking for a drink with whiskey and you discover a drink that I have created. Not only can you see how my drink is made, but you can also see previous iterations and read my notes, “I like it, but I think I made a little too sweet this time.” You can adjust it to refine it even more. When you do, I’ll get a notification that the beverage I’m working on has another iteration. Maybe I want to try. I’m going back and making it better. Even though we never met at the bar and didn’t do it together, even though we didn’t know each other’s names, we created something together. It’s all about participatory, democratized design.
MIT staff know this and they don’t want to change it. They are not trying to make a better drink. Instead, Makr Shakr is meant as an example of some of the principles of the Third Industrial Revolution – truly a microcosm.