We already know IBM’s (News - Alert) Watson supercomputer can win Jeopardy! We’ve seen applications for the giant digital brain in healthcare. So what’s next for the smartest guy in IBM’s brain trust?
How about cooking?
At an upcoming analyst meeting in San Diego, IBM says it plans to serve attendees a very special breakfast: a pastry called a “Spanish crescent.” The dish will be made from a recipe created in part by Watson. In fact, the new recipe is the result of a collaboration of Watson’s software and James Briscione, a chef instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan, the New York Times reported last week.
Researchers at IBM interviewed Briscione at length while he worked to choose ingredients and cook, bake and finalize dishes. Watson “watched” too, and since the supercomputer is capable of “learning” thanks to artificial intelligence, Watson has become something of a cook itself (himself?).
The computer read the reams of data collected by IBM researchers, examined information about the chemistry of food ingredients and even measured things like “olfactory pleasantness” in determining what types of foods in what combinations were most pleasing to humans.
As a result, Watson has attempted to generate a number of recipes that are both unique and pleasing to human palates. In creating the “Spanish crescent,” the computer was asked to produce something healthy that both tasted good and drew from Spanish cuisine as inspiration. The final ingredients for the recipe include cocoa, saffron, black pepper, almonds and honey, according to the New York Times.
As a sideline business, Watson has also been put to work by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline to carry out models to develop a new anti-malaria drug.
Gourmet cooking, curing malaria, winning Jeopardy…it’s all a day in the life of your average super-smart supercomputer.
Edited by Brooke Neuman