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Tuna Scope, the A.I. tells us if the tuna is fresh

By Sara Stefanovic
3 min read

Artificial intelligence, feared by many people because of science fiction films, can be of great help. We test it every day, with Google Maps when we get lost, with Just Eat when we are hungry… Today we would like to talk about food. More precisely, we refer to a food loved by many people, which can be served raw, cooked, marinated, in oil… multitasking! We are talking about tuna, a precious fish, an excellent source of vitamins but above all, extremely appetizing. What if I told you that there is an app that tests its freshness? It is called Tuna Scope and was created by Dentsu Group.

Tuna scope, the app that assess the quality of tuna

It was invented by Kazuhiro Shimura, director of the Future Creative Center of the Japanese group Dentsu. One evening, after having had the brilliant idea of buying sushi at the supermarket, he began to think about the need to have an app that could assess its freshness and quality.

Using a deep learning algorithm to analyze retailer data, Tuna Scope has evolved into a smartphone app. Customers can download it and use it anywhere, creating a “unified classification standard” for a business that invests on local know-how.

Kazuhiro Shimura
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But why the tuna?

Tuna is one of the ocean’s greatest treasures and Japan has long been home to artisans who have mastered the skill of tuna examination. These sea artisans can recognize a ‘good’ tuna from a ‘bad’ one in the blink of an eye. This knowledge has been transferred from real intelligence to artificial intelligence, in order to transmit this information as much as possible and prevent unpleasant inconveniences.

We want to ensure that people around the world can enjoy the same standard of delicious tuna, even into the far future.

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The Secrets to a tuna’s flavor are hidden in the tail. The cross section of a tuna’s tail is a road map detailing an intricate story about its overall quality. It goes without saying that this heritage is fundamental, it has to be protected and preserved.

No matter how talented someone may be, it takes at least ten years to be able to do this by yourself.

The Tuna Scope Project


The information comes from an AI-based system that instantaneously determines the quality of a given tuna based on the cross section of its tail. This was possible thanks to a great number of bulks of cross-sectional tail images, and data on quality assessments conducted by master artisans. This data was successfully passed on to the A.I system, in order to give everyone the chance to assess the quality of tuna everywhere in the world.

The AI system was mounted in a smartphone app and introduced to the frozen tuna inspection process at Japan’s fish processing facilities in Japan and in China. The app initially showed 90% accuracy compared to its ‘human’ counterpart, so it has been improved and now offers more accurate results than ever.

Last step, in three cities around the world it is possible to taste the ‘I.A certified tuna’.

Tuna Scope became a brand. In 2019 the AI Tuna was served at sushi train restaurants in Tokyo and the project gained much national and international attention. In February 2020, the TUNA SCOPE Certification Mark was rolled out and AI tuna sales began in three cities – New York, Singapore and Tokyo.

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But sustainability is also behind the project. In March 2020, a Japan company encouraged an export business using TUNA SCOPE. The high quality tuna tested and approved by TUNA SCOPE will be available all over the world.

Through AI-based examinations, we are not only aiming to establish a fair world standard for tuna quality but are also setting out to create a world where everyone will have access to a stable supply of delicious tuna.

3 min read

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