IBM to Publish Cookbook by Watson Supercomputer This Week

Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson is most likely the world’s first algorithm-based recipe collection.

Image courtesy of IBM and the Institute of Culinary Education

Watson, the IBM supercomputer and know-it-all Jeopardy show off, will once again demonstrate the continued obsolescence of us mere human meatbags with a new cookbook of algorithm-based recipes. After the IBM team fed information on thousands of recipes into the “learning technology,” including data on flavor, texture, and nutritional content, Watson has spent the last year flexing its newfound culinary skills as the basis for a food truck and in frequent team ups with Bon Appétit magazine. According to Business Insider, for the new book, Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson, the Institute of Culinary Education interpreted and adapted 65 recipes from Watson’s repertoire, which often includes unique and counterintuitive ingredient combinations.

“As amateur and professional chefs, we already know what ingredients work well together,” says Hope King of CNN Money about Chef Watson, “but given how many flavors and foods there are in the world, there are countless combinations we might never be able to come up with on our own.” Dishes like Indian Turmeric Paella, Kenyan Brussels Sprouts, and Swiss Thai Asparagus Quiche are among those combinations likely to appear in the new book, which hits retailers on April 14.

But Watson’s food-based artificial intelligence isn’t actually meant to replace flesh-and-blood chefs with an army of Mario Bot-talis and Android Zimmerns—at least not yet. While the technology pairs recipe components, Bon Appétit compares the experience of working with Chef Watson to “watching an episode of Chopped in real time—you get a bunch of ingredients and then decide what to do with them. The difference here is that every ingredient you’re presented with already goes well together, even if you don’t know it yet.” And in a January piece first announcing Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson, Brian Aronowitz, chief marketing officer at the Institute of Culinary Education, told Publisher’s Weekly that the supercomputer is actually an excellent helper for carbon-based spatula jockeys. “Using this technology,” said Aronowitz, “their creativity is enhanced by quintillions of possible ingredient pairings, augmenting their creativity.”

You can buy Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson here.


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