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Watson the supercomputer is here to help you make dinner easier


SheKnows Editorial

Watson the supercomputer is making it easier than ever to come up with new recipes for busy nights, and I for one couldn’t be more excited.

Sometimes after a long day, the last thing my brain is capable of is figuring out how I am going to turn the random assortment of ingredients in my cupboards into a palatable meal — especially at the end of the week, when I haven’t been grocery shopping in a while.

Growing up, I was subjected to my dad’s goulash or “hamburger surprise” on nights like this. These days, my go-to meal in these cases usually ends up being some sort of soup or lentils and rice, which never fails to elicit an eye roll from my fiancée (lentils again?). But in the future, there could be a better way!

IBM’s Watson the supercomputer has been getting busy in the kitchen, and it turns out it has a knack for writing interesting recipes. Just call it Chef Watson!

All you have to do is tell it what ingredients you want to use, and it’ll give you several recipe suggestions — and trust me, hamburger surprise is not on this list.

Because Watson is a supercomputer, it can look at the chemical makeup of different foods, which makes it easier to come up with interesting flavor combinations and recipes. One hit meal from Watson included chicken, pork, mushrooms, strawberries and apples. I don’t think I could come up with a meal from just those ingredients (other than “worst casserole ever”). But Watson recognized that they all contain a similar chemical compound that would be a good flavor match, and Vietnamese apple kebabs were born.

Other recipes Watson has created can be seen on its website and range from Peruvian potato poutine to Belgian bacon pudding.

This technology presents a new advance outside the kitchen too. While Netflix or iTunes might be able to look at one thing you like and then suggest another based on it, Watson can actually create something entirely new based on the information you give it. It would be like iTunes creating a brand-new song for you based on your tastes. Pretty cool stuff!

Watson’s recipe-writing technology isn’t available to the public yet, but at least we know there’s hope. In the future, a can of green beans, some cocoa powder and three sardines don’t have to be a dinner death knell — they could represent an exciting culinary possibility, thanks to Watson.

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