In Brief
As part of a marketing campaign in Italy, an algorithm designed 7 million Nutella jars, each with a one-of-a-kind label. This is one of the latest examples of automation taking over a job previously held by humans.

Individually Different

If you’re a fan of Nutella, you’re likely more interested in what comes in the company’s jars than what goes on them. However, if you’re a fan who lives in Italy, you recently had reason to be excited about both.

After previously playing around with the caption on their jars, Nutella decided earlier this year that they wanted to do something interesting with the label designs on their containers. To that end, the Ferrero-owned brand launched a campaign in February that saw 7 million unique Nutella jar designs hit shelves, and all 7 million were sold.

The labels featured combinations of lines and shapes, polka dots and zigzags, and no, the company didn’t employ an army of artists to make their campaign happen — all they needed to create these “Nutella Unica” jars was a single algorithm.

An algorithm is a program developed to execute certain functions. In other words, lines of code were able to create these unique designs as well as your typical human designer could. Once written, Nutella’s algorithm would combine various patterns and colors for each design on its own and then give each a customized ID code to ensure no two labels were alike.

Intelligent Automation

Nutella’s label-designing algorithm isn’t the first automated program to dabble in the artistic — indeed, it seems few professions remain beyond the reach of automation.

Will Automation Steal My Job?
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We now have intelligent machines capable of driving vehicles, working in warehouses, and even flipping burgers. Some are working in the insurance industry and in the field of lawartificial intelligences (AIs) might even replace human CEOs.

Such developments fuel people’s fears of a robot workforce revolution, which would result in massive unemployment. However, more moderate experts think this needn’t be the case.

The intelligent automation of this century could revolutionize professions the same way automation in the days of the Industrial Revolution opened up new opportunities for people. While some people might lose their jobs, automation might just give them better ones in exchange.