IBM’s famous Watson computer now has a new profession to add to its repertoire – chef.
The Watson Computer came to public attention following an episode of Jeopardy, in which the computer beat out two of the show’s best contestants to answer the trivia questions. Such computational power was unheard of when the episode aired in 2011, and since, IBM have worked to diversify the skills that Watson can accomplish.
Watson was created to search huge databases of information in order to act as an aid to humans in highly technical areas, and Computer Scientists should read more on how Watson formulaically parses large volumes of data to work in creative disciplines such as cookery and art. In regards to its new role as a chef, Watson is tasked with creating new recipes by analysing volumes of data ingredient combinations and historical recipe data.
Watson can add to, rather than compete with, human creativity because it holds no biases. Medicine and Law are discipline which rely on amassed knowledge which can lead to implicit or explicit leanings in judgement, while Watson holds no such bias – Chef James Briscione, who wrote a cook book using Watson’s findings, explains that Northern European styles of cooking suggest apples should be cooked in butter if cooked at all, and Mediterranean cooking uses olive oil but rarely are apples cooked because they struggle to grow in arid climates. Watson does not account for these biases, however, and created recipes based on frying apples in olive oil because they share a better flavour profile.
All research based disciplines should be excited by this innovation, which has taken artificial intelligence from giving evidence-based answers to innovating new ones.
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