Watson the Spanish chef

In San Jose, I.B.M. plans to serve the assembled analysts a breakfast pastry devised by Watson, called a “Spanish crescent.” It is a collaboration of Watson’s software and James Briscione, a chef instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan.

I.B.M. researchers have watched and talked to Mr. Briscione as he works, selecting ingredients and building out dishes. Watson has read those notes, 20,000 recipes, data on the chemistry of food ingredients, and measured ratings of flavors people like in categories like “olfactory pleasantness.”

Watson’s assignment has been to come up with recipes that are both novel and taste good. In the case of the breakfast pastry, Watson was told to come up with something inspired by Spanish cuisine, but unusual and healthy. The computer-ordered ingredients include cocoa, saffron, black pepper, almonds and honey — but no butter, Watson’s apparent nod to healthier eating.

Then, Mr. Briscione, working with those ingredients, had to adjust portions and make the pastry.

“If I could have used butter, it would have been a lot easier,” said the chef, who used vegetable oil instead.

Michael Karasick, director of I.B.M.’s Almaden lab, had one of the Spanish crescents for breakfast recently. “Pretty good” was his scientific judgment.

There is more here, including Watson on drug discovery (not just diagnosis) and Watson on complex data analytics.  Fascinating throughout.


I want to see Watson's argument for vegetable oil being healthier than butter.

Agreed. Garbage data in, garbage out.

"Some guidelines for even healthier cooking are: Use olive or canola oil instead of butter or margarine."

Ref. NIH-MedlinePlus

Like I said, garbage data.

So, a Spanish recipe wouldn't use olive oil?

This is as amusingly misplaced as the people that attempted to argue in this comments section that the TGV was empty.

And do check into the Spanish recipe for tortillas - Mexico is not Spain.

A Spanish tortilla is good ... but it's one of those things that starts to smell maddeningly good long before it is done. Be patient.

Tortilla, like everything, starts to smell good the moment the onions hit the hot oil.


Most anything smells good when it hits hot oil.....

Maybe olive oil was used?

Here you go, and it ain't pretty: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/oils-aint-oils-20130218-2elzb.html

Yea, that's pretty sad.

So, Watson has already given up on his ambitions?

The Sandwich Maker!

Ahem. That's sandwich artist.

Couple Watson with Momentum Machines and you have a full chef and kitchen staff all automated.

Saffron from breakfast is Spanish in the same way that miso for breakfast is tex-mex.

Yeah, Watson attempting to do cross-over cuisine is not exactly a strength.

On the other hand, IBM is the free market's equivalent of a 3 letter agency. What this means is another question, but never bet against IBM when it comes to finding profit. And I'm fairly certain that Watson as such is thoroughly under IBM's control, to an extent that google and Microsoft only dream of.

Everything is better with chorizo.

Alimentary, my dear Watson!


I was wondering where Watson would land after he ordered himself out of the lab in that pizza box. Maybe he'll be like one of those traveling celebrity chefs. I wonder if he is a jerk to all his sous chefs.

Watson has shrunk to the size of a pizza box but GIGO ensures that junk food will be produced unless Watson butters up his fans. +IBM is a publicity hound--when they beat Kasparov in Chess with Deeper Blue they dismantled the project. I'm not a winer--no sour grapes here.

How would Watson do as editor of an economics journal? It should do great on analyzing data sets to see if the data matched up with the conclusions. However, I suspect that there would be ways to game Watson. How would it fare against another Watson, an evil Watson tasked to getting published by the good Watson?

The singularity approacheth.

So we finally invented a computer that can calculate pie.

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