4 Ways IBM’s Watson Wants to Help You Find the Perfect Recipe

cooking-experiments

There are many ways IBM’s Watson supercomputer has been sneaking into our lives unnoticed.

It’s being used increasingly in the health and medical industries. Sanofi, a French pharmaceutical company, has been using Watson to assist them in drug re-purposing. The FDA has signed a research agreement with IBM aimed at exchanging health data through blockchain. Sifting through mountains of info from wearables, clinical trials, patient records, and genomic data, to help determine which treatments work best.

Sports brand Under Armour is putting the technology to use in a new fitness app. So is a Japanese company that’s developed a robot called Pepper.

One of the more visible ways is with Chef Watson.

Cognitive Computing is being used to explore the differences in ingredients and their chemical properties in a visual way. Here are a few ways ‘Cognitive Computer Cooking’ might help with your next get together (or maybe not).

1.  After partnering with Bon Appétit in 2014, IBM launched a web app that lets you create your own full recipes with Watson. Working similarly to its sister online recipe makers, it allows you to choose one or more ingredients that you want, and rule out those you find objectionable. You can also start by selecting a dish you already know (like casserole) and hunt through possible ingredient combinations. Then Watson generates at least 100 recipes for you to try. They range from classic to experimental.

The Watson inspired combos are derived from an aggregate of 9,000 Bon Appétit recipes, combining several different recipes created by human chefs. It takes ideas and ingredients that have been used the most, then makes decisions/suggestions based on that.

Unfortunately, those of us without much cooking know how out there, looking for our own signature dish to be imagined for us, might be out of luck.

Watson is still learning itself and is apt to make mistakes. If it gives you the wrong proportion size, and you don’t catch it, you might end up with a ruined meal.

There are many occasions when you won’t need any experience to find mistakes. Like adding a lot of chocolate to blondies, kind of defeats the purpose.

2.  Bear Naked and Watson have cooked up a new way to enjoy your favorite granola snacks before you hit the trail (or the road to work).

At BearNakedCustom.com you can choose from 50 different ingredients to find your favorite blend. It all starts with the help of IBM Chef Watson, who selects possible flavor pairings based on your personal preferences, giving you the option to choose flavors you want, and exclude the ones you don’t. With thousands of possible combinations, it might just make it harder for you to choose!

Pick your granola, then select other ingredients which include fruits, nuts, vegetables, herbs, spices and more. Choose up to 3 and hit save.

You can even name your blend and choose a bear illustration for the package.

The company that launched in 2002 is known for using all Non-GMO Project Verified and ethically sourced ingredients. From the cinnamon apples that come from Smeltzer Orchard Company, a family owned farm in Michigan, to Red Sea Salt enriched with red algae clay from Kauai, Hawaii.

It’s the first consumer brand to use Chef Watson based foods.

Certainly a novel idea that seems like it might stick around and be picked up by other businesses. How many times do you stare at 10 different pre-made flavors, and none of them are what you wanted?

3.  IBM Chef Watson Twist is an ios app that can help you mix up a new and unique cocktail-style drink. Just tell Watson your mood, choose non-alcoholic or with, add some flavors, and Bingo! Watson comes up with a drink that (hopefully) tickles your taste buds.

4.  In need of a cookbook? Even The Institute of Culinary Education has joined forces with Watson to publish a book of recipes, Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson: Recipes for Innovation from IBM & the Institute of Culinary Education, inspired by the supercomputer.

So what’s next for Chef Watson? A smarter mobile app, fewer mistakes, or new recipes derived from the internet’s entire recipe catalog?

Maybe what Watson really helps us discover is that a little experimentation is great, but we don’t always make such bad choices ourselves.

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